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Still racists around, Bajans told

Kenmore Bynoe

Still racists around, Bajans told

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Barbadians have been warned that “in 2010 there are still racist forces around who, given the slightest opportunity, would not hesitate to reverse our gains of liberty”.That warning was sounded by acting director of the Commission for Pan African Affairs, Dr Deryck Murray, who delivered the welcome remarks at the Emancipation Ceremony put on by the commission, the Ministry of Community Development and Culture and the National Cultural Foundation at Emancipation Village, Spring Garden.Speaking to a large crowd, including Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Minister of Culture Steve Blackett and Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Affairs Patrick Todd, as well as some who paused in their frolicking at Bridgetown Market, Murray stated: “We walk this walk every year to mark a line in the sand that trumpets to the enemies of liberty that we are vigilant; we are guarded; and we are marching forward to secure our full emancipation.”Murray had earlier taken part in the Emancipation Day Walk, which started in Independence Square and traversed the heart of Bridgetown, moving through St Mary’s Row, Emmerton, Chapman Lane, New Orleans, Westbury to end at Spring Garden. City MP Todd headed the walk, accompanied by the African symbol of Shakazulu, representing an African warrior, borne by three youngsters from the Bush Hall community.The group of more than 200 walkers comprised mostly young people mainly from Bush Hall, New Orleans and The Pine, who were joined by Stuart and Blackett at the junction of Westbury and New Orleans.Many Barbadians along the route were unaware of the walk and rushed to capture a glimpse of the drummers and dancers believing that they were getting a preview to the Kadooment parade.Murray stated that Barbadians needed to involve themselves in the walk which symbolised the unshackling of their minds and that Kadooment was part of the unshackling of the body.“Those who imagine that Kadooment is mere revelry, entertainment and drunken ‘letting loose’, have done Crop-Over, Emancipation and the cultural practitioners who dedicate their creativity, intelligence, craft, blood and sweat to its success an injustice by purporting that it does not have the ‘correct ethos’ of Emancipation.“Emancipation Days were about joy, entertainment and revelry while celebrating gains towards freedom. The festival previously held in Barbados to celebrate the end of the crop in West African yam festival style saw the enslaved Africans dancing and singing on the estates and the streets. “This festival provided inspiration and form for the newly freed Africans to jump through the streets of Bridgetown on Emancipation Day,” Murray argued.Part of the activities involved spoken-word presentations by Adrian Greene,  with accompaniment by Anderson Griffith on the guitar. Bobo sang three apt and moving songs, while Stuart, Blackett and Todd placed three wreaths on a shrine set up with portraits of all of the deceased National Heroes.