Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is urging Vincentians and the rest of the Caribbean to take a trip to Ghana in support of that West African country’s observance of the 400th anniversary of the enslavement of Ghanians by Europeans.
“The Government of Ghana has proclaimed 2019 the 400th anniversary of enslaved Ghanians in The Americas as the ‘Year of Return’ to contrast with the enforced passage through the ‘Door of No Return’ at the forts constructed by Europeans in Ghana to facilitate enslavement.
“I urge all persons of our Caribbean region to support practically ‘The Year of Return,’ Prime Minister Gonsalves told Parliament on Wednesday during the state visit by Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Dr Gonsalves said that between the early 17th century and the latter part of the 19th century, an estimated 25 million Africans were torn from their homeland for the so-called New World in the service of mercantile and industrial capitalism, colonialism and inhuman racist hegemony.
“This monumental crime against humanity – African enslavement – under-developed Africa and the Caribbean. The consequential legacy of underdevelopment persists, for which we in Africa and the African diaspora, including the Caribbean, justly demands reparations – a repairing of this awful legacy.
“In the case of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the highly-structured enslavement of African bodies came relatively late, much later than the enslavement, for example, in the American colonies, Barbados, St Kitts and Jamaica,” he said.
Prime minister Gonsalves said the records show that between 1764 and the end of the British slave trade in 1808, 62,176 enslaved Africans departed for St Vincent and the Grenadines; 55,562 of them arrived. The horrific number of 6,614, or some 11 percent, perished across the middle passage.
“Today, the descendants of our African forebears constitute the vast majority of our country’s population which, through the fever of history, has evolved as a metaphoric symphony, an integrated whole with occasional dissonance embracing the songs of the indigenous Calinago and Garifuna, the rhythm of Africa, the melody of Europe, the chords of Asia and the home-grown lyrics of the Caribbean itself,” Prime Minister Gonsalves said.