|Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley (third from left), enjoying the cultural presentations at the Emancipation Village. Also present are Permanent Secretary, Shirley Farnum and Minister of State in the Ministry of Housing, Patrick Todd.
Barbadians have been called upon to use the "passion, resistance and struggle" which is a part of their past to help them become more innovative and determined so they can conquer the world with new services and products.
While addressing the Emancipation Day celebrations at the Emancipation Village on Spring Garden last Sunday evening, Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley, said it was necessary for the country to chart a new economic path that would further diversify the economy, creating new jobs and opportunities for Barbadians.
Mr. Lashley told his audience: "This is the new struggle we face. Let us not become complainers, but doers and strategic planners… Let us use the lessons of the past to come up with relevant solutions for our current and future problems."
He suggested that Barbadians must be vigilant, so as to ensure they did not allow themselves to become victims of other more insidious forms of slavery. "… We forget that there exists today many contemporary forms of slavery such as human
trafficking, forced prostitution, child soldier, forced and bonded labour and the use of children in the international drug trade.
"The figures are astounding, indicating that while some 12 million Africans may have been enslaved in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, the number of modern day slaves is possibly between 12 and 27 million," he disclosed.
Acknowledging that resistance to injustices had become a part of the island’s culture, he noted that only rarely in our history had citizens resorted to violence. He added that Barbadians had been responsible enough throughout the years to manifest their resistance in peaceful, practical and responsible ways.
"And, my appeal today is that as a matured democracy, we continue to effect meaningful change in a peaceful manner, ever mindful of our fine traditions as a liberated people," he said.
Mr. Lashley stressed that as the country commemorated Emancipation Day, it was not seeking to immerse its citizens in the details of a painful, tragic past, but focus them on the legacy of resistance and triumph against injustices. "We are paying tribute to our achievements as a people. We are acknowledging the role played by our ancestors who suffered and sacrificed, so that we could be where we are today," he declared.
The Minister urged all to use the lessons of slavery and oppression to make Barbados a better place to live, work and recreate.