PR – As we commemorate another International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition—we must never forget the cruelty and harm meted out to our ancestors during the brutal and inhumane slave trade. And, despite slavery being abolished in 1838 throughout the British Empire, we must also remember that the legacy of slavery still lingers in Grenada—184 years later.
We must also remember that our history and heritage did not begin with slavery nor with its abolition, and that our ongoing struggle for freedom from injustice and oppression is rooted in a past fueled by resistance and resilience. The many uprisings and rebellions, which our enslaved ancestors led and won, are a testament to a legacy of strength, courage and determination.
As we look toward the future, those who committed these heinous crimes against humanity — by kidnapping and enslaving millions of Africans and trafficking people for profit — must be held accountable. They must be called upon to redistribute the unearned wealth they’ve accrued on the backs of our ancestors, as a result of the slave trade. They must also acknowledge and accept that there is a direct correlation between the economic advantages they enjoy today—almost 200 years later—and slavery.
The time for Britain and other European nations to settle the debt owed to our nation and other countries in the region is now. Today, August 23, is a reminder that our fight to earn what our ancestors were so unjustly denied is just the beginning of a multi-generation struggle for reparations. We must approach reparations in Grenada with a sense of urgency. And, we cannot —and must not— stop, until justice is served!
I encourage Grenadians to continue honouring our ancestors’ legacy today and always, through our culture, our traditions, and by remembering our true history.
Today, we remember our ancestors’ struggle for human dignity and their subsequent freedom from chattel slavery. Today is also a day of reflection, and a re-affirmation of the urgent need for reparatory justice for slavery and the legacy of slavery.
Arley N. Salimbi Gill is Chairman of the Grenada Reparations Commission