183 Years Later, Still No Emancipation
On August 1st, 1985, the twin island of Trinidad and Tobago became the first country in the world to officially declare a national Holiday for the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean. That Holiday, Emancipation Day, replaced (and rightfully so), Columbus Discovery Day, a Holiday which commemorated the arrival of Christopher Columbus in a southern city (on the island) called Moruga on 31 July, 1498.
Yesterday, Trinidad and Tobago celebrated the 32nd anniversary of the declaration of that holiday, and I couldn’t help walking around looking like the Conceited Reaction Meme all day; reason being, I do not feel Emancipated.
You know that saying that exchange is no robbery? the old slave drivers are long dead, but the new slave drivers in town have found and mastered modern, deceptive ways of capturing and enslaving the innocent and the unsuspecting, and this has been going on on my island for decades.
Now, I know that there are many, particularly the so-called “patriots” who would love to have my head for what I’m about to say, although I have damn good reason for saying it, but I’ll say it anyway.
When an average, hard-working person making just $15 an hour in a country with an inflation rate of 1.80 percent (as of April 2017) has to pay $3000 per month just to rent out a studio apartment with barely any room to scratch an itch, I don’t feel emancipated.
When a 60-year-old pensioner living in a shack with no electricity or running water can be raped and strangled to death in her own home, I don’t feel emancipated.
When a young woman returning home from a night out can be snatched and almost forced into the trunk of the the vehicle of a would-be abductor, and people driving past on the street do not even stop to assist, I don’t feel emancipated.
When someone is shot next to my apartment and I have to lay low for a while (lest someone thinks I saw or heard something) as if I’m the one who committed a crime, I don’t feel emancipated.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the average man on the street is a slave each day to organized crime, lawlessness, financial difficulty and fear, and we’ve got a Prime Minister delivering a speech about “emancipation.” Emancipation for who, exactly? the wealthy? the perpetrators of white collar crime? for who? certainly not for average, everyday people like me, just trying to make our way through the madness.
By: Danielle Dixon
Follow her on Twitter: @tooprettydani