WASHINGTON, D.C. — Speaking at the regular meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council held on Thursday, August 11, 2016, His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, used the occasion to highlight the historical significance of Emancipation Day, which was celebrated in The Bahamas on August 1.
“I think it is only right to celebrate, ponder and mark the 178th anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire,” Dr. Newry said. “In effect, 178 years ago, on Monday 1st August, 1838, one of the greatest holocausts, human tragedies and era of human trafficking came officially, if not in practice, to an end throughout the British empire, including Canada.”
Noting that for four centuries the wealth of Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Holland “was built on the strong muscular backs of African slaves,” Dr. Newry added, “Over the ensuing years to the present, 240 million Afro-descendants in the New World by all the measures of human development remain, except perhaps for the First Nations peoples, at the bottom of the scales.”
This is not because of a lack of intelligence or desire on the part of the Afro-descendants, Dr. Newry said, but rather because “of a deliberate combination of actions by the descendants of the slave nations due to fear of sharing the wealth of those nations based on Ignorance of the former slaves and the perception of their contribution to national development as mere tools.”
“Deliberate silence, societal and academic, in the teaching of history, resulted in silence on the part of the many Afro-descendants, causing them to be desirous of losing their own ethnic identity by merging into the societies where they find themselves even to the point of disappearance and denial of the memory of their African heritage,” Dr. Newry said.
Declaring that 240 million “is a significant number,” Dr. Newry added, “We await the grand awakening of the Pan-Afro-American Economic Congress (PAAEC) and this group’s enhanced and fitting contributions to nations of their citizenship, the New World, and to the call of the distant drum of marching Mother Africa.”
Held in the Simon Bolivar Hall at OAS headquarters, 17th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, the meeting was chaired by His Excellency Dr. Elliston Rahming, Bahamas Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the OAS, who assumed the chairmanship of the Permanent Council on July 1 for a three-month period, ending September 30. Dr. Rahming is also The Bahamas’ Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
His Excellency Dr. Eugene Newry, Bahamas Ambassador to the United States, speaking at the regular meeting of the OAS Permanent Council on Thursday, August 11.