Opening of the Lidj Yasu Omowale Village
Friday 28th July, 2017
Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain
Ms Susan Corbett Director of Community Development Division
of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts
Good evening. I am humbled and honoured to represent the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts at this evening’s launch of the Lidi Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village. And I would like congratulate the Emancipation Support Committee on your 25th anniversary.
“If there is no struggle,
There is no progress”.
These were the words of Frederick Douglass ex-slave, abolitionist leader, author, orator, and the first African-American citizen to hold a high U.S Government position.
In essence struggle and progress go hand in hand.
And the theme of today’s event is: ‘KIJANA – the front line’, which according to the organizers, depicts the “on-going struggle for space that original expression, or those that fall outside of the dominant – western/traditional world view have”.
At the Community Development Division of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts we have provided spaces for cultural expression, through our programmes such as; Community and National Festivals. Our focus is the promotion and preservation of our cultural heritage.
As a people, our African ancestors fought for their freedom, their culture, and their legacy.
And it is because of that struggle that we can have and appreciate our progress as a people.
Emancipation is the celebration of the resilience of a People, our people.
Ours is a nation which has pioneered emancipation celebrations and the Pan African movement.
On August 1, 1985, Trinidad and Tobago became the first country in the world to declare a national holiday to commemorate the abolition of slavery.
We were the first country in the world.
This official recognition in our country led to a wave of Emancipation commemorations in Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Turks and Caicos and even as far as Ghana.
Trinidad and Tobago has led the way for people of African ancestry to rekindle their pride, their progress and their liberty.
And so as we progress, as we move forward, we must reflect on what we have achieved as a people -our solidarity, our passion, and our legacy.
Through, the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, our government is ensuring the development of all communities and their residents in Trinidad and Tobago. We are working for the progress of the people through opportunity; the opportunity to be champions of our national transformation.
Today, we are who we are because of our struggles and progress. We are who we are because of trials and triumphs. We are who we are because of the resilience of a people.
We are who we are because we have overcome and keep overcoming.
I humbly thank you.
Happy Emancipation to you.
May God continue to bless us and this great country of Trinidad and Tobago.