No to Emancipation mamaguy
Words like "multiculturalism"; "diversity" have been bandied about, branding our country as the best place in the world where cultures live harmoniously.
I imagine a policy exists to disburse funding for national cultural projects in a manner reflective of that picture.
Yet, we have the perennial case of the Emancipation Support Committee (ESC) experiencing the indignity of "begging" for funds, and receiving last-minute handouts and rejection. We ought not to have this happening in a country which boasts of social and political success during 50 years of Independence.
The cultures of this country and its peoples are stitched together because of historic colonial domination. For us of African heritage, not to think ourselves as victims, we must feel and believe that this country's leadership can understand and treat our heritage needs with expediency and respect.
Emancipation celebrations, annually, are a means by which the ESC facilitates both a restatement and an appreciation of our national identity.
These celebratory activities remind us of the investment Africans themselves made in this country; and their sterling contributions to it, as well as to the world.
The ESC forum produces activities to encourage community, to engage in information exchange, serving as spiritual healing for the past and glorifying the present through cultural resistance. These are factors essential to nation-building and identity sustainability. Any effort we make both to remember the pain of our African descendants and to award their purpose must not be met with obstacles.
A proper call from the ESC for Government funding support is appropriate and fitting; since we hear our leadership espousing cultural equity as critical to maintain the "togetherness" brand of Trinidad and Tobago.
Ministers should accept responsibility to ensure best practices follow this best policy. The financial responsibility to stage a national ensemble of the enormity of the Emancipation celebrations is not fictitious. It consumes many paid and unpaid people creating major costs.
Respect for our culture must flow from a truth which is lodged in our hearts, and travels in our spirit of who we all are in this county.
Government funds allocated and handed out properly to assist and support where they are due, in a timely manner, makes authentic the talks that our many cultures harmonise making unique our Trini national identity. As they say, leaders should "put money where dey mout' is!"
Dr Yvonne Bobb-Smith