Observe 200th anniversary of abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade — CARICOM

Kaieteur News
March 19, 2007

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Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Edwin Carrington, is reminding all Member-States that Sunday, March 25, 2007 marks the 200th anniversary since the Proclamation of the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

He is urging them to implement programmes of activities to commemorate this event on Sunday, or during the week beginning March 25.

The Secretary General is also appealing to the mass media, the church, Government Ministries, agencies and schools in all Member-States to join in a synchronised period of one-minute of silence on Sunday at noon, Eastern Caribbean Time, in honour of those who died in the Middle Passage and in resistance to slavery.

This is in keeping with the decision of the Eighteenth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines last February, to commemorate this historic event with year-long national and regional activities, and in particular the observance of the synchronised period of silence.

Mr. Carrington's appeal also comes against the background of the passage of a Resolution co-sponsored by CARICOM, at the 61st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2006, designating 25 March 2007, as the International Day for the Commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

The Resolution, which was supported by an overwhelming majority of Member-States of the UN, urged all Member States of the United Nations “to develop programmes to educate and inculcate future generations on the lessons, history and consequences of slavery and the slave trade, and requested the Secretary-General of the United Nations to establish an outreach programme to commemorate the anniversary, including the holding of a Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Sunday.

It acknowledged, among other things, that the slave trade and the legacy of slavery are at the heart of situations of profound social and economic inequity, hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice, which continue to affect people of African descent, and recalled the reference in the Durban Declaration on the importance of provision of effective remedies, recourse, redress, and compensatory and other measures at the national, regional and international levels, aimed at countering the continued impact of slavery and the slave trade.

Further to the 2006 UN General Assembly Resolution, the 19th Meeting of the Community Council of Ministers of CARICOM held in Georgetown, Guyana on January 19, last, endorsed the proposal that Member States focus on the development of educational material on the Slave Trade under the theme ‘CARICOM Reflects'.

Already, several Member States such as Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have developed and started implementation of a comprehensive year-long programme, which includes public lectures, logo competitions, public education, panel discussions, cultural rallies, concerts, exhibitions and ritual ceremonies of commemoration.