Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Rev. Joseph Atherley

Government will be observing the bicentennial of the abolition of the slave trade in a significant way. This was revealed today by Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Rev. Joseph Atherley during a press conference at government headquarters.

“The total programme will be executed under the theme ‘Breaking the Chains’. It speaks to our history and experience as enslaved people, the process of freedom which we are pursuing as we develop as well,” he said.

One of the key events will be a memorial inter-faith service and cultural programme at the Bay Street Esplanade, on Sunday, March 25. It will also include the unveiling of two plaques in honour of the event and its significance.

The inter-faith service will be in remembrance of those slaves who lost their lives at sea during the transatlantic crossing as well as those who entered the Careenage and Carlisle Bay to work on sugar plantations.

“This is a national commemorative gathering and I am inviting all Barbadians to come out and be a part of this event. It will not be a lengthy event and it will incorporate elements of religious expression, worship and thanksgiving. There will also be several cultural presentations that evening,” Rev. Atherley said.

Barbados is the chosen country whose Prime Minister has been invited to deliver the Wilberforce lecture on Sunday, March 25, at Hull University, England.

“That’s no small honour. I believe it is not only because of the reputation of Barbados that our Prime Minister was chosen but also because of his own reputation as a leader in the Caribbean and the developing world, and a leader who has represented Barbados with pride on the global international stage.” Said the Minister of State.

 “Cabinet had decided that a Resolution would be carried to Parliament and there be debated on the matter of Barbados’ commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.

“That debate, it is anticipated, will take place in late March because we have got some other scheduled events on the parliamentary agenda, the dates of which cannot be interfered with. The presentation of the annual Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure must be laid and carried out before the end of March,” he added.

The entire programme is expected to form part of a wider season of emancipation, which commenced this March and will end in August this year. The Prime Minister’s Office has set out to ensure that it reflects highly, the things that Barbadians cherish and want to highlight.

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