On August 1, 2007, numerous Guyanese will participate in ceremonies marking the 169th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Guyana. However, the government, people and state of Guyana, after some 41 years of political independence have failed, and most miserably so, to commemorate the nationalists, 500 slaves, who were massacred at Bachelors' Adventure, in the aftermath of the failed effort of self emancipation in August 1823 – commonly called the Demerara Slave Revolt. It is high time; Guyanese of all walks of life recognize their government from April 1953 to this very day, has failed, in their efforts of nation building, and perhaps, they did not even try. Therefore, people of Guyana , it is high time; in fact, it is passed due, that you begin to honor your heroes, at all levels of the society. The non-governmental organizations have failed, too. They are for the most part, partners with various political entities – and thus have compromised whatever integrity they initially had.
It is incumbent; that you and I, on this 169th anniversary in Guyana, every Guyanese, every community, honor those who came and left before us. It is obviously; on those ancestors, whose blood, sweet and tears – allow us to call ourselves; Guyanese. It is time to honor the slaves, the indentured servants, the shareholders of the villages –which gave birth to local self-government in Guyana. It is time to commemorate those who struggled on the sugar plantations, often times from can't see in the mornings to can't see in the evenings, those whose lives were cut short by vicious administers of the colonial system, which was murder and mayhem upon the working class while providing luxuries for Europeans in Guyana and Europe.
The living is charged with preserving the story of their past, their representatives, their ancestors – free of distortions- as accurately as humanly as possible. In short, Guyanese have not honored the females of the affair at Cove and John in the spring of 1834. You have not honored; the females and those apprenticed laborers who practiced non-violence and civil disobedience, in the face of grave indifference to their welfare, on the Essequibo Coast in August 1834. You have not honored; the 500 Africans who were massacred at Bachelors' Adventure in August 1823. Yet you continue to honor Reverend John Smith and Reverend John Wray, who were responsible for pacifying the slaves – and thereby dampened the spirit of self-determination.
If Brindley Horatio Benn's phrasing – one People, one nation one destiny – motivates you to act and thereby, one day, finally, the people of Guyana will truly become a nation and not a collection of ethnicities residing next to one another, or in separate communities, with separate goals, but a nation of diverse cultures molded by shared experiences into national unity. It is high time; Guyanese begin to act and regard ourselves in such a manner – that the righting or making amends for grave indifference must be high upon the moral fiber of the Guyanese society. It is high time; Guyanese bring to the attention of their churches, their mosques, their temples, their schools, their institutions, their communities – that the 500 Africans who were massacred at Bachelors' Adventure in August 1823 must be honored, beginning this year, 2007. This is the correct thing to do. It is a step in nation building in a multi-ethnic society is neither as complex as political agendas suggest nor is it as simple as it appears upon the surface. It takes consistent approach, with a high sense of moral integrity minimizing differences but highlighting the common aspects of the society.
Honoring the abolition of slavery, the freedom fighters, the shareholders of villages, and martyrs of the East Coast Rebellion at Bachelors' Adventure must be both the concern and the commitment of every Guyanese. The people and state of Guyana must commemorate the 500 Africans with at least a National Day of Remembrance, annually. A Commemorative plaque must mark the location where 500 slaves were massacred at Bachelors' Adventure. Future generations of Guyanese must be educated regarding the nature of the struggle and sacrifices numerous ancestors were forced to endure – and therefore they perhaps, would begin to regard whatever freedoms they do have with high regard and prepare to defend those freedoms at all cost.
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Payne, Tommy. 10 days in August 1834 : 10 days that changed the world / Brooklyn, N.Y. : Caribbean Diaspora Press, c2001.
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