Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre on Sunday announced that his administration plans to make Emancipation Day, observed annually on August 1, a major event on Saint Lucia’s national calendar.
In a message to mark the day which commemorates the abolition of slavery in the British Empire on August 1, 1838, Pierre described the anniversary as one of the most significant, if not the most significant event in our history when 13, 285 people from 384 plantations here were freed from slavery.
However he expressed the view that in the past, the commemoration of Emancipation Day has not received the importance it deserves, with many regarding it as another holiday in Saint Lucia and not a day of reflection on the true meaning of the occasion.
The Prime Minister went on to note that while slavery has been abolished, the mindset and racial attitudes that brought African people to the Caribbean and the Americas still linger.
In a speech in which he announced the immediate reinstatement of a government subvention to the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT), the PM also declared that as a people, Saint Lucians must remember the struggles of their forefathers while preserving and protecting the heritage they left.
“As we recognise this occasion, we also need to remind ourselves that we need to fight against attitudes that belittle our patrimony and cultural heritage whenever and wherever they exist, ” Pierre declared in his Emancipation Day message.