“Today is the source of our resilience.”
Reminding citizens of their rights to life and liberty, to freedom of expression and opinion, president of the St Andrew’s Development Organisation (SADO) Royan Charles opened the 2020 Emancipation Commemoration praising Grenadians for their resilience.
“Today we stand here as an emancipated people, reclaiming our identity, our fundamental human rights that we were robbed of; but, we must do so in a responsible manner. So, as a people let’s demand excellence because we deserve better considering what we have been through,” he said in a virtual address organised by SADO.
Claude Douglas, lecturer at the T A Marryshow Community College, in delivering the feature address, said citizens should always be vigilant about all their rights. “Not just political rights but rights that guarantee our basic needs,” he said.
The right to promote and preserve our culture “should be fearlessly guarded,” he said, because culture “defines our evolutionary identity.” Moreover, culture helps us to understand our ancestral values and makes us “a unique group of people.” The sociologist said the more knowledge our children acquire about our culture, the greater their appreciation for it. The tradition of oral storytelling through forms such as poems and epic rhymes should be taught in schools, he urged.
Miss Shirma Wells, chief executive officer of the Grenada Cultural Foundation, congratulated SADO for maintaining its tradition of commemorating Emancipation on the first Monday in August amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual event was held under the theme ‘Reclaiming our rights, promoting a culture of excellence’. The programme featured a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by Ms Lily Alexander and a dance performance by the young female group Rainbow Divaz from Telescope.
Achievement awards were presented to farmers Patrick Francis and Gerald La Barry for their contribution to food and nutrition, the Saint Andrew’s branch of the Grenada Union of Teachers for their efforts in teaching students during these trying times, the Eastern Division of the Royal Grenada Police Force for ensuring peace during the State of Emergency, the Saint Andrew’s Bus Association for their role in providing transportation and the Saint Andrew’s Medical District for ensuring access to health services.
The virtual celebration concluded with the the release of the acoustic cover version of ‘Redemption Song’ performed by Damian ‘Pappyboi’ Lapompe.