Pan-African Director concerned about Emancipation turnout
Director of the Commission for Pan-African Affairs, Dr. Deryck Murray.
With the new concept developed for the Emancipation Day, Director of the Commission of Pan-African Affairs Dr. Deryck Murray is hoping the number of Barbadians supporting the day’s activities will soon increase tenfold.
The activities for the 2017 Emancipation Day, spearheaded by the Pan-African Coalition of Organizations (PACO), included a ceremony at the Bussa statue this morning where many from the Pan-African and Spiritual Baptist community honoured the memory of the ancestors with song, dance and gifts of flowers.
The procession then led a walk through the surrounding community and ended at Blenheim pasture in the Ivy, St. Michael at the Emancipation Village which was dubbed the Bongani Festival.
The Emancipation Village included a show of cultural performances, art exhibitions and booths displaying the work of various small craft and design businesses.
Dr. Murray spoke to the media on the sidelines of the Festival where he said the village concept is one that has the potential to draw more people.
“They were very aware that this is a new thrust and a new consciousness that they want to put into their program and they expect that it will grow over time. So they didn’t expect, although they hoped for, a massive turnout and we supported it… through public relations. Hopefully the festival that they are promoting will grow over time.”
He noted Emancipation Day is one which over the years has had to compete for attention with Crop Over related events, especially when the two days coincide, adding this should not be the case.
“One day we hope that we will reach the level of the numbers we see at Soca Royale and Kadooment and ideally what should happen, if the mindset was correct, that should really be a day for our full mental and physical emancipation. But that requires that the artistes, the promoters, cultural practitioners, that they take some time and infuse everything that we are doing with the music, the costumes, with themes surrounding our freedom and our liberations.”
He said it appears as though Barbadians have forgotten the great price which was paid by the ancestors to attain freedom and he added Crop Over celebrations and ultimately Grand Kadooment Day should be about more than rum and revelry.
“But it can’t be about that only. If we could only remember that that is symbolic of the greater Emancipation and liberation and we have that in our minds other than simply doing it because we want to have entertainment for the day. We need to add a deeper level than that.”
Dr. Murray added the concept of emancipation should be viewed as more than a force than simply a day of activities and he hopes the new life which has been injected into the day activities by PACO and the Ministry of Sports, Youth and Culture will assist in reviving the spirit of Emancipation in Barbadians.