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An anthem for a rising Martinique

An anthem for a rising Martinique

Fri, January 18, 2013 - 12:01 AM

WHETHER they are called departments, non-incorporated territories or associated states, the reality is that they are all colonies, and the Caribbean region has the highest concentration of such colonies in the world.

There are the micro-colonies: Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, United States Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Anguilla, St Martin, Montserrat, Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba. There is also the group of relatively larger colonies: Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Martinique.

So there are fifteen colonies in the Caribbean. We can therefore see that the Caribbean still has a long way to go to secure its independence.

It is against this background that a Barbados delegation made up of Cultural Ambassador Anthony Gabby Carter and me (president of the People’s Empowerment Party, David Comissiong) visited the French colony of Martinique over the weekend of January 12 and 13, 2013, as guests of the anti-colonial Coordination Des Comites Populaires of Martinique.

Messrs Comissiong and Carter, along with delegates from Guadeloupe (Marie-Christine Myre Quidal) and Trinidad and Tobago (Khafra and Asha Kambon) attended the annual conference of the grass roots-based Popular Committees Movement, and also engaged in discussions with the representatives of a broad spectrum of anti-colonial organizations, inclusive of the Union for the Liberation of Guadeloupe, Society For Frantz Fanon, Groupe Revolution Socialiste and the Popular Movement For Resistance In Martinique.

The Barbadian delegates explained that in spite of Barbados having been a colony of Britain for well over 300 years and having very few natural resources, the people of Barbados courageously opted for Independence in 1966, and have had no reason to regret that decision. They further explained that over the 46 years of Independence, Barbados was transformed from an impoverished society to a modern progressive country that rose to as high as 19th on the UNDP’s Human Development Index in the early 1990s.

The clear message to the Martiniquans was that they could do the same and should reject French propaganda that seeks to convince them that Independence is not a viable proposition.

David Comissiong delivered this message in several speeches, but the Mighty Gabby conveyed it even more strikingly and forcefully by composing and performing a “national song” for Martinique with these lyrics:

Rise Martinique, rise

Rise Martinique, rise

Raise your flag, yes

Raise it! Raise it!

Red, green and black

No turning back

Raise it, raise it

Rise Martinique, rise!

The flag referred to in the song is the red, green and black flag adopted by the anti-colonial movement of Martinique and championed by the legendary anti-colonial mayor of the city of St Anne’s, Garcin Malsa.

All in the Caribbean must join hands and engage in a collective struggle for a united and sovereign Caribbean nation and civilization. No longer must we allow language or colonial barriers to keep us apart.

• The PEP column represents the views of the People’s Empowerment Party. Email clementpaynechambers@gmail.com.

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