The much anticipated Caribbean Ties Exhibition August 1-31, 2021 was officially opened with an inspirational ceremony at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, last Sunday, with the twin observances of Emancipation Day.
Monsignor Patrick Anthony, led the ceremony with a sermon which was filled with scripture. He celebrated Caribbean people, the power of a once enslaved people, power of once dominated people, the power of a people who discover their potentiality and who can ride to the summit of that potentiality.
“And I’m really delighted Arch Deacon, by the Anglican community, to have this Caribbean connection on this Emancipation Day,” said Monsignor Anthony.
“Could you imagine that this is the most significant event happening for emancipation day in Saint Lucia?” he questioned.
“If you didn’t do that, we had nothing,” said Monsignor Anthony, extending applause to the Anglican Church, adding: “I would like to commend David Jordon, the community and all the different organisations that came together. It’s wonderful that despite the times, we can still collaborate, we can still come together as a people.”
Anthony explained that emancipation on August 1, 1834, was the beginning of what is called the apprenticeship period, four years of apprenticeship. During those four years, the enslaved people had to work three-quarters of the week- free of charge, for their masters. Three-quarters of the week – they only got paid for one quarter. And I was doing a little research. Because I was interested since I was going to talk this afternoon on Saint Lucia.
“I discovered that at the time of apprenticeship in Saint Lucia, August 1, 1834, leading up to August 1, 1838: there were 13,291 slaves in Saint Lucia in a population of a little over 20,000.
“Do you know how much the British government paid the owners of those 13,291 – slaves who worked three-quarters of the week free of charge, and were only paid one quarter.
“Do you know how much the British government paid them for those slaves?
“For every slave, they paid 25 pounds, three shillings and four pence, per head.
“In other words, the owners were compensated for losing the slaves. That is why the work that is been done here, Arch Deacon is linked with the work of the reparations committee in Saint Lucia, of which I’m a proud member. Because you see, there is something called reparatory justice. There is a reparation that must be done. And that reparation must be done by all of us.
“I discovered that in Saint Lucia. There were three Catholic priests at the time of the beginning of the apprenticeship period. Today, the Roman Catholic Church in Canada has been asked by the head of state, the prime minister of Canada to apologise, and he has asked the Holy Father Pope Francis, to come in person to Canada. You know why? Because the indigenous people 251 of them were found in unmarked graves of children who are supposed to be put in Catholic Schools to be assimilated into the culture.
“Today, we heard that the Jesuits, the Jesuit society, one of the largest congregations, the Catholic Church, has started an endowment for $100 million to the descendants of 272 slaves, who are sold what, to save what was then Georgetown college, which is now the famous Georgetown University. Yes. The Catholic Church has to pay.
“Codrington had slaves in Barbados, the Anglican Church, we all, we all, this is the history. This is the moment of real emancipation when we must not talk emancipation. But we have to live emancipation, we have to help in that process of liberating our people, particularly our children, so they can understand the grounds on which our history is built.
“And Winston …., I am very happy that you are here; and the efforts that the societies are doing. We have to get the new government to bring in history, culture, archaeology, into the curriculum of schools, that our children will know this and understand this. That’s the kind of meaning this emancipation day has for us on August 1, 2021.
“So in conclusion, let me really big-up the Anglican community for this incredible effort. And from what I gather, there will be a series of lectures from now to the 30th. And so, and particularly for me, the most important aspect of it all is that this is for our children, our children, our children, our children need to know this. They need to understand because our children are tomorrow. Amen.”
Taken from an article on the Caribbean News Global website