September 28, 2020

Slavery

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Independence Day in Jamaica was last Saturday (6) and there were many who celebrated it here. Jamaica and the Cayman Islands have close ties. The Caymans were officially declared and administered as a dependency of Jamaica from 1863 and that lasted until 1959 although the Governor of Jamaica also remained as the Governor of the Cayman Islands. Three years later, when Jamaica obtained its independence and, as one of our writers put it, “its freedom,” we became a direct dependency of the British Crown. So, did we swap our freedom from Jamaica to slavery to another? It doesn’t seem like slavery here and I was surprised at the writer’s terminology of ‘freedom’. But if you are not free you are a slave.

Colonialism has a nasty ring to it. And when I questioned my reporter he said it all had to do with exploitation colonialism. “We celebrate it now whether we are better off now than we were,” he said to me. Most certainly the British, and he was certainly talking about them, did conquer a country to exploit all of its natural resources and native population to make money for them. Wikipedia says it this way, “A reason for which a country might practice exploitation colonialism is the immediate financial gain produced by the low-cost extraction of raw materials by means of an enslaved native people, usually administered by a colonial government.” Notice the word ‘enslaved’.

On Sunday (July 31), at St George’s Anglican (Episcopal) Church, Emancipation Day was celebrated in observance of the emancipation of slaves of African origin. St George’s is part of the Diocese of Jamaica & the Cayman Islands and many local Jamaican officials participated in the service.

There is no doubt slavery is an abomination where people are treated as property, forced to work and have no rights. What is shocking is THE NUMBER OF SLAVES TODAY IS HIGHER THAN ANY POINT IN HISTORY – 27 MILLION!

So if one has become free it certainly is a joyous time and should be celebrated. However, we could be swapping one master for another; but we can still party – we have our independence.

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