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Locals urged to get greater understanding of country’s past

Locals urged to get greater  understanding of country’s past

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Dominican historian Dr Lennox Honychurch reinforced to an audience at the Kingstown Methodist Church Hall, that a greater understanding of the country’s past would give a better appreciation of where we are as a people today.{{more}}

During a presentation on October 23, entitled “None But Ourselves Can free Our Minds: Facing Our Past to chart Our Future,” Honychurch outlined areas in the history of St Vincent and the Grenadines and how they relate to our present social, economic, cultural and religious circumstances.

The presentation was part of the annual Independence celebrations, hosted by the University of the West Indies Open Campus.

Speaking also to listeners on various radio stations and online, the prominent author noted that his lecture was based on the belief that an understanding of national heritage and history is a means of liberation.

“If you live in a community that you do not understand, that you do not conceptualize, do not know anything about its roots, you are not going to be able to live a fulfilling experience within that place as if you knew the background to it, Honychurch stated.

“And also, knowledge leads to love; commitment, and with this greater knowledge both of the natural and cultural heritage of our islands, we gain a greater commitment to it.”

Honychurch touched on various aspects of the history of St Vincent and the Grenadines, starting with the arrival of the indigenous people from South and Central America, the arrival of the Europeans, slavery, revolt and banishment to universal adult suffrage in the 1950s, and independence in 1979, as he linked the happenings of the past with the events taking place today.

In closing his lecture, Honychurch lamented that the region has branched out into another kind of culture, which embraces what he described as tragic paranoia of the African American experience in North America and integrating it into the youth of the Caribbean, who, he said do not have the strength of knowledge, and the feeling of roots that they could have about the land in which they live.

“And so as Marcus Garvey said again, “There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society, who feel that they have no stake in it, who feel that they have nothing to lose… People who have a stake in their society want to protect that society, but when they don’t have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it.”

“And that is why we must create societies that are holistic, that involves everyone and give them a feeling of having a stake within that society….”

He said that this country’s rich history should enable Vincentians to chart a new future, based on the firm knowledge of the past, and the freeing of minds is a personal mission that each individual should embark, armed with the knowledge of the past.(JJ)