If you want to know the end, look at the beginning–African proverb
It's one of the most difficult, divisive and fundamental issues in Caribbean and Commonwealth history. Is it that people of African descent are still "Nobody"? We must be unafraid, fearless, relentless and indomitable in claiming the space and not only claiming it but making it a safe space.
The descendants of the slaves must not allow the passage of time to diminish the relevance of the inhumane, barbaric and brutal history of the told and untold stories of enslaved people, the transatlantic slavery, the plantation economy and the business of slavery. To those who believe it's not about the past it's only about the present and future. If you want to know the end look at the beginning.
August 1, 1985, T&T became the first independent country to declare Emancipation Day a national holiday to commemorate the abolition of slavery.
Last week an important webinar was held so as to remain true to a promise made in the original Trinbago 2021 bid concept to host the Commonwealth Youth Games. It's laudable the determination of Martin Reynolds, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) director of strategy, legacy and partnerships to honour the vision of the bid concept articulated by Kwanieze John, Rheeza Grant and Chanelle Young and the alignment of Trinbago2021 now 2023 with "Emancipation".
One of the presentations entitled "Festivals of Resistance in Trinidad and Tobago - Empowering Communities through Culture" by Dara Healy- a writer, storyteller, dancer-choreographer and actress of film and stage from Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). Dara founded the cultural organisation, Idakeda Group Limited in 1998 and the non-governmental organisation, the Ida Marie Guerra Indigenous Creative Arts Network, ICAN in 2012. She is passionate about the transformative power of movement and dance and dedicates her creative skills towards the enrichment of vulnerable children and communities. Her presentation was powerful, profound and thought-provoking.
Entitled - The Trinbago 2023 International Slavery Museum (ISM) Virtual Tour and Festivals of Resistance - the celebration and significance of T&T Carnival and Emancipation. The webinar also included a facilitated virtual tour and talk by the ISM of Liverpool.
The idea is to provide athletes, in particular, but also officials, coaches, administrators and sport leaders coming to T&T with an insight into the strategic, cultural and historical significance of hosting a multi-sport Commonwealth Games in the twin-island Republic.
It was an effort to highlight that the Trinbago 2023 opening ceremony is not just "a party" but of deep significance and catharsis.
The invitation to the webinar was circulated to the 72-member Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs). Fifty participants attentively listened to the presentations by Dara and the ISM.
Meaningful conversations about emancipation, slavery and colonialism fight, the majority of people in the Commonwealth including the Caribbean.
Today, the curtain will raise on the historic first-ever multi-sport event to be held in T&T.
Another important element of the Trinbago 2021/2023 bid vision is to have the steelpan at the core of the Games' sporting, musical and cultural brand identity. "Pan on de Podiu!" Imagine hearing the pan version of the national anthem of all 72 Commonwealth nations and territories.
We must be proud of the distinctive sweet sound of our steelpan. The steelpan is our own invention by "Trinis" of African heritage.
The Commonwealth Youth Games is here T&T. Rise up! It's our time to shine!