Premier draws on shared heritage in Emancipation message
Commonalities among Caribbean nationals and the shared legacy of those enslaved during the trans-Atlantic slave trade were just some of the themes underscored by Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley in his message at the traditional Sunday Morning Well Service yesterday, July 31.
A reflective Dr Wheatley recalled the horrors that took place during slavery and warned that the hard-fought freedom won by slaves at that time should never be taken for granted by their descendants today.
A people who do not have a history, the Premier said, have no identity. “It is as if they do not exist and never did.”
He continued: “They have nothing to connect them and nothing to feel connected to. And throughout history, we have seen this happen to people.”
“We must never take their fight for granted. We cannot observe Emancipation without referring to what the Emancipation is in relation to,” the territory’s leader said.
An ardent student of history himself, Dr Wheatley said that during the time of the slave trade, more than 12 million men, women and children were stolen from their homes and shipped to plantations in the so-called new world.
But the Premier was also keen on striking a chord of unity in his message, noting that there is much similarity among countries with a shared heritage of enslavement.
“There’s much that is similar, there is as much that is similar as our differences,” Dr Wheatley stated.
According to the Premier, while we can be proud of our uniqueness and passionate about our unique identities, we must also appreciate, celebrate, and leverage our similarities.
He urged people to join hands in an effort at advancing all the people of the region.
“I say this, not just in terms of advancing development and self-determination and so forth, but also in meeting challenges we are facing such as dealing with food supply and food price issues, and climate issues,” the Premier said.
Dr Wheatley said the chances of success are greater; and faster results can be achieved by coming together rather than by being divided and distant.