Emancipation Day greetings


People’s National Congress Reform Emancipation Message 2019 

The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) joins the Guyanese people in celebrating the 181st Anniversary of the Emancipation of enslaved Africans. The Party regards this event as the most significant in the foundation of our nation and the formation of our society. It was the first step in our country’s long march towards social equality, economic independence and political freedom.

Africans in the united Guiana colonies of Berbice, Demerara and Essequibo regained their freedom on the 1st August 1838 after two hundred years of enslavement. Emancipation on that day commemorates not only the bloody sacrifices of the Africans who struggled, suffered and were slaughtered for the sake of the freedom we all enjoy today but also the birth of the nation itself. The entire Guyanese nation should participate in this public celebration.

Emancipation is Guyana’s most important national celebration. It marks the start of the most significant demographic change through the coming of the Portuguese, East Indians, West Africans and Chinese and the transformation of the coastal landscape through the creation of free villages and the diversification of the economy into the production of food crops, gold-mining and logging. It led, also, to the liberation of society through the popular movements for educational development, labour organisation and political mobilisation.

Emancipation celebrations in 2019 also commemorate the 256th anniversary of the Berbice Revolt of 1763 led by Kofi and the 196th anniversary of the Demerara Revolt of 1823 inspired by Kwamina. Guyanese of all races are the beneficiaries and heirs of the sacrifices of our nation’s first freedom fighters.

Emancipation, after all, was not a finite event that occurred 181 years ago. It was the commencement of a continuing process which must aim at providing a “good life to all Guyanese.”

Happy Emancipation!

A message from the People’s Progressive Party on the occasion of Emancipation Day 2019

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) wishes to extend warmest greetings to every Guyanese, especially

our Afro-Guyanese brothers and sisters on the occasion of the 185th Anniversary of Emancipation.

Slavery remains the most cruel and inhumane system of subjugation and discrimination known to human history. The celebration of its abolition is the right and duty of every single human being.

This occasion, once again provides another opportunity for all to reflect on the tremendous sacrifices made by our Afro-Guyanese ancestors who were brought inhumanely to this land in chains to provide free labour for the sugar plantations.

They were stripped of their humanity and dignity and forced to toil long hours. Many were tortured and brutally killed for simply standing up for their rights. In their long and unyielding march for freedom, many battles were fought, including the Berbice Slave rebellion led by our nation’s National Hero, Cuffy.

When freedom finally came, the freed slaves and their descendants, though uneducated, demonstrated an exceptional degree of industry, thrift and financial acumen and hence, were able to acquire large portions of land, which today remains the foundation of our village movement and subsistence cash crop industry.

Indeed, the contributions of slaves and their descendants to every facet of life in this nation is simply immeasurable and it would be impossible to accurately capture in a mere statement of this nature.

As we celebrate this important historic and national occasion, we urge every Guyanese not only to reflect upon the herculean sacrifices of the slaves and their descendants, their incomparable struggles and their remarkable achievements, but also to use them as a source of inspiration and guide as we continue to work together to build a united and democratic nation, free from poverty and discrimination.

Happy Emancipation Day to all.

People’s Progressive Party

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This holocaust of enslavement saw the ruthless and forced extraction of Africans from their homeland, and subjection to the horrors and murder that was the Middle Passage.
On arrival in the so-called “New World” slavery persisted for four hundred years and cost the lives of millions of Africans.

It is important to note, as one of our foremost historians Dr. Winston McGowan chronicles, “The overwhelming majority of slaves never accepted the system of slavery with equanimity. They accommodated it or adjusted to it when they felt they had to and resisted it when they had the opportunities to do so.” In that same vein we must continue to resist the shackles and those who seek to bind us to a dark past.

We acknowledge their strength that catalysed a small colony to the world stage. According to the renowned historian, “By 1800 Berbice and Demerara-Essequibo, whose economic growth had long been stifled, had become the second largest producer of sugar in the British West Indies, the largest producer of cotton in the British Empire and the greatest producer of raw cotton in the entire world.” While those industries have waned, new frontiers beckon and all Guyanese will once more enjoy the good life.

We acknowledge their resilience as well and vast contributions of African slaves to our Guyanese history. From the days when they first built our major canals and sugar lands with their bare hands in the broiling sun and the rain to their descendants who stand tall today in every sphere of economic and educational endeavour.

As Guyana moves towards the promising economic times that lay ahead, we reflect on the efforts of our ancestors and their fight for freedom. Let us as a Nation resolve to never again tolerate inequality, inhumanity and racism rather let us build a unified Guyana – a future together.


GAWU Emancipation Day Message

The final “full freedom” of Emancipation was won after decades of death, suffering, slavery and exploitation from 1763 through 1823 to 1834 and finally 1838.

The spirit of yearning for freedom – that liberty of mind, body and soul from ownership by others never deserted the African slaves and the indentured contracted workers who followed them after full Emancipation in 1838. Numerous were the uprisings, rebellions, protests, riots and strikes. Emancipation never came willingly or cheaply from the colonialists.

Against those sentiments, GAWU salutes the memory of those who struggled and sacrificed for freedom and the descendants of our African forefathers who today have hopefully inherited their spirit of justice and true freedom from those who dared to stand up against the brutal, enslaving colonial system.

It is now popular to repeat that “had there been no Emancipation there would have been no Arrival”. But it is still a valid observation of our shared history. Both slaves “apprentices” and indentured labourers were integrally linked to the plantation. Sugar, historically cannot be separated from today’s demography we know as Guyanese society.

It is perhaps a curious but understandable fact of Guyana’s socio-economic history that sugar brought us together, often forged of collective struggle against the plantocracy and for independence.

GAWU feels that this Emancipation 2019 period should reinforce in us all the lessons of the post-1838 history. In unity, strength is most sustained. Today, sugar workers are at low ebb facing painful trials and tribulations of unemployment as government flounders to fashion a valid structured lasting plan to rescue a historic industry. Closure has affected thousands – both sugar workers and other members of the working-class. As with the forced apprentices in 1838 today’s sugar workers face a bleak, hopeless future unless, economic sense prevails and the workers’ representatives are listened to with serious intent.

The descendants of Emancipation must all share in equal opportunity as our natural and human resources become available to development for all. No group should be favoured or discriminated against because of political expediency. It is such approaches that will help preserve and give enduring meaning to achievements like emancipation and independence.

GAWU Urges reflection at this time. Emancipation, Arrival and today’s challenges are issues that hold lessons for us and guide us in our pursuit and future endeavours. Let us heed them on Emancipation Day and onwards.

A pleasant Emancipation Observance 2019 from GAWU.

Emancipation Greetings 2019 from the ERC

The Chairman, Commissioners and Staff of the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) join with all Guyanese to celebrate the 185th Commemoration on the declaration of the abolition of slavery and the undue sacrifice of apprenticeship that lasted to 1838.

The ERC sees this commemoration as a historical landmark that has changed the landscape of our nation forever, – initiating the genesis of modern Guyana with the subsequent era of indentureship.

Emancipation then heralded the coming of indentureship, enriching the landscape and compelling the need for answers from a new depth of clarification and fortitude towards an inevitable collective destiny beyond contentions, fears and fragmenting dogmas. Emancipation is the stage that challenges all Guyana to evolve continuously.

The years of slavery were the eternal twilight that slipped into the darkest night of strug”gle, sacrifice and consuming hopelessness, to awake from that long blood-stained night to the promise of a new dawn with Emancipation.

The struggles and efforts of our African ancestors redound to the benefit of all Guyanese. As a diverse nation of five peoples we must collectively build on these triumphs, persevere and resolutely aspire to greater heights and a deepening of the spirit of social cohesion.

We must continue to unite, mobilize and together lift our nation to higher heights socially, economically and culturally. We must elevate our mindset, eschew mediocrity and believe in a culture of excellence.

Through the eyes of the ERC, Emancipation is our human movement. A process of cultural and mental awakening that must envelope us all, as we contemplate ground covered; acknowledge causes and errors made, and finally, truly emancipate ourselves collectively and commit a most significant positive posterity to the present and future Guyana.

The ERC takes this opportunity to extend best wishes to all Guyanese on the occasion of Emancipation.

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