Posted on

E-man-say-pay-shun foh who


As ah boy growing up we didn’t know nothing bout E-man-say-pay-shun Dey, we celebrated ah day called August Monday, de first Monday in August. De long weekend was significant in some villages; Murray Village way ah still living was one. De older folks mainly de Bum Drum players held on to de tradition, Bum Drum was part ah de celebrations on dat hysterical night on August 1st 1834, when ‘all’ slavery was over, is me who slip in de ‘all’! We had two Bum Drum Bands, de Trimmingham and Joseph families dat played “house-to-house” (foh ah penny) thru de village from dat August Monday morning till night.{{more}} But before dat, early Sat-dey morning, fore-day morning to be more specific, how vividly ah remember de barking ah de dogs, obviously frightened by de pigs and goats bawling foh murder as dey were being slaughtered. Folks attended church on de Sunday, ah new outfit for August Sunday was quite appropriate. De traditions and customs were very much de same foh Easter, only dat August was supposed to be Victory over Physical Enslavement and Easter was Victory over Sin and Death.

But as de older folks passed on, is like dey carried de Tradition wid dem. Activities like Cricket, Rounders and de Steel Bands became prominent community symbols. Villagers went on “Outings” or “Trips” today it’s called “Excursion” or “Boat Ride” way all sort ah ting does go on. But August Monday and Easter Monday became ah time to social-eyes wid all ah d’s Trips to different villages: Troumaca, Sandy Bay, South Rivers and so forth. D’s exchanges bore fruits as one village will visit on Easter and de courtesy will be returned at August or Boxing Day as de case may be. Very soon we saw ah influx ah “local immigrants” from places like Rose Bank, Sandy Bat and so on, folks teking permanent residence in de village. Later on my his-story teacher explained dat it was called “In-turn-all My-grey-shun.”

So August Monday became sin-ah-nah-mus wid “nice time” wid scores ah excursionists on boats and vans heading in all direction. Nobody had time wid way happen before 1834, dah was back den, we move on and enjoying we free-dumb, “ah new enslavement!” Yuh could just imagine de resentment and objections when de ULP “took office” oops, “took Power” in 2001and tried to cut out dis first Monday in August ting. Dey proclaimed August 1st as officially “E-man-say-pay-shun Dey” and dat day is de holiday. Dat first ULP E-man-say-pay-shun Dey was hi-lighted wid ah massive Rally at Heritage Square. Dey tried to resurrect de traditional stuff, drumming, poems, ah remember some Hi-T-Tie-T big shot people addressing de gathering: Doctors, Nurses, Lawyers, Teachers. Really and truly de message was received, mission accomplished. But hold-on, today thirteen years after, NUTTEN! We not interested in dat part ah we history, we looking foh Back-Pay, some kind ah Rap-arrears-shun! Some ah we ain’t even know or care who we four-parents be, but we want dey pension.


But maybe, just maybe if we could proclaim again, dat some quality time between August 2nd and July 31st de following year, be dedicated to lecturing and informing the uninformed about Slavery, de journey across de passage, de ill-treatment along de trip! Who bring we hey? What was de ill-treat-mint and suffer-mint like before E-man-say-pay-shun. Dis ought to open we eyes to reject de modern day slavery dat teking over de land again. We will overs how dey say slavery abolish but ah Cook-Asian master name Van Geest, de Banana magnate who never dig ah Banana hole, became ah billionaire from Bananas, and when he realized dat de Banana done wid, he sold out. Geest made billions while today, hundreds ah we Farmers who slaved and made him Rich, surviving on Poor Relief. But we ready to slave foh de Cocoa man, ah nex team ah Cook-Asian, please dis is not being race-sis, but like de Geest die-nasty, dey will mek we plant and dey will harvest. Our fore-fathers, as slaves, planted Cotton and Cane, harvest de crop, load de factory dat manufactured de sugar, molasses and rum, packed dem in sacks and barrels and massah shipped all to de UK.

Dey was no bonuses-pen-shun or gratuity foh de slaves back den, none foh Geest enslaved Farmers, and dey is none in de dis-cussing foh de soon to be enslaved Cocoa Farmers. And yuh want me to recognize E-man-say-pay-shun? And when we tink dey will leave us alone wid we two square foot ah land, another set ah Cook-Asian masters have arrived to develop our lands, bill hotels and con…struck cab-an-ass, ripping us off. Ah read way our Vincy lands are being marketed at ah four hundred percent mark-up on de price dey paid locally. Remember during de enslavement process, how de ULP big wigs wanted to crew-see-fire de Rastaman dem when dey say dey wanted $10. 00 ah Square foot foh dey land? Multiply dat price by 400. Dey all have dey Aimes and object-teefs!

And hey is way we dey today, E-man-say-pay-shun! We are Free but still not Free ah de Slave Men-tell-at-Tea! And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.