PM in Emancipation Day message – Trinidad and Tobago is not a failed state

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Dr Keith Rowley –

THE Prime Minister said Trinidad and Tobago is neither a torn nation nor a failed state.

Dr Rowley made this observation in his Emancipation Day message to the nation.

He said Emancipation Day is another occasion which gives people an opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness of TT

“We are multi-ethnic,multi-cultural, multi-religious — a beautiful ‘patch work quilt’ society, some people say. “

In recognising that diversity,Rowley continued, citizens, have been becoming more aware of their historical roots, and at the same time learning that our sociological makeup has forged “extraordinary prospects for a workable, political consensus, if only we will let it.”

He reminded citizens that the country’s makeup “has fault lines, which carry inherent dangers of entrenched cleavages and segmentation, with possibilities of ongoing contentions, and contrived, social conflicts.”

Rowley observed that experiences in other countries have shown that these dangers could smoulder and ignite at any moment.

He did not see this happening in TT because hope is one of the exceptional qualities that lodges within this country’s collective personality.

“So today, when thousands of people of African descent take to the streets, they are asserting and glorifying their heritage, their self-realisation, grateful, too, that Trinidad and Tobago is not a torn nation, or failed state, but a real place, peopled by citizens, who every day celebrate its uniqueness, carrying their eternal hope for a better life for themselves, their families and for this nation.”

Rowley said celebrating Emanicipation Day, “We will be saying that we have been dealing with our history openly, directly, and honestly, but we cannot forget the whips on the backs of our ancestors.”

The estimated number of African slaves crossed the Middle Passage (the forced voyage of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World) range between 14 to 40 million people.

Rowley said, “Over the centuries, our ancestors endured outright murders, child separation, beatings, rape, castrations, lynchings, and mutilation, with some body parts even being severed and sold as souvenirs. Yet we survived!”

He recalled the gateway in Medina in the Cape Coast province in Ghana, from which the stolen Africans departed Africa, was called “the door of no return.”

Rowley said, ” Yet we survived and returned to find our ancestral roots to join hands and find common causes with our modern-day brothers and sisters.”

Today, he continued, Africa is now viewed as the cradle of human civilisation.

Rowley said Africa is now seen as “the world’s fastest developing economic region in the 21st century, having just overtaken Asia, and of its six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world.”

He added that Africa’s minerals are viewed as critical and indispensable to the technologies of the 21st century green economies.

“Today, recognising the pain of the Middle Passage, and the centuries of colonial brutality, I salute the African community, a people, who through grit and determination, is on the march, striving for further discovery and self-realisation, searching, and transforming themselves for the challenges of the 21st century.”