The Emancipation celebrations, although the central focus will be on the Port-of-Spain activities, will be staged across the country. This year the main celebrations in Port-of-Spain are listed to begin at 7 am. one hour earlier than usual, to facilitate the staging of a Pearl Eintou Springer presentation - “Freedom Morning Come” - a re-enactment of the actual proclamation of emancipation. Eintou Springer is Director of Culture of the Emancipation Support Committee, headed by Khafra Khambon.
Thousands of persons, participants and spectators, are expected to be out on the streets from early, with the spectators seeking to ensure the securing of vantage points. Most of the celebrants will be in their Dashikis and West African styled prints, seeking to identify in dress, not only with their forbears but with their cousins across the seas.
While there will, undoubtedly, be a touch of sentiment in both onlookers and those taking part in the parade, nonetheless what will be of importance to the descendants of freed African slaves will be the tremendous economic and social strides made since the 1834 Proclamation.
Descendants have contributed to the country’s development as leaders in politics, in commerce, industry, in law, medicine, agriculture, energy - oil and natural gas - steel, University professors and lecturers, pre-school, primary and secondary school teachers, taught at technical schools and adult education centres. Many have been electricians, machinists, mechanics, food caterers, construction specialists, draughtsmen, process operators and building, electrical and mechanical supervisors.
Also, many have invested in the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange and in private as opposed to public companies. So that the dancing on the streets, the parades and the laughter will be an understandable mixture of the joy of Emancipation Day itself and what has been made of the opportunities presented by freedom from slavery, by education and political freedom.
As Khafra Kambon, Emancipation Support Committee President pointed out recently the theme of the 2010 Emancipation Day celebrations is “Reawaken the Spirit of Liberty”. This spirit means the taking of themselves and the country forward to a better and brighter day in conjunction with the other groups which make up Trinidad and Tobago.
In addition, there is the knowledge that those who participated 40 years ago in taking the freeing of their slave forbears a full step further, through the 1970 Black Power Revolution, have also been officially recognised. Indeed, the leader of the 1970 movement, Makandal Daaga, has been appointed Trinidad and Tobago’s Caricom Ambassador Extraordinaire.
Commemorating the historic day has embraced events ranging from Thursday’s (July 29) business symposium at the Hilton Hotel; the opening of the Emancipation Village at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, the same day and a Youth Day, a project on which the Committee worked jointly with Pan Trinbago celebrating the evolution of the steelpan. Additionally, there was the July 31 salute to the 40th anniversary of the Black Power Movement, featuring leading Calypsonians such as Stalin, Chalkdust, Composer, Explainer and Superior.
Meanwhile, the $2.7 million in gifts by the Government to the various groups organising Emancipation Day Celebrations and events leading up to the day, including a grant of $2 million to the Emancipation Support Committee, has meant that the Committee and other groups have been better positioned to structure their programmes this year.