We must not desecrate the future – PM Gonsalves
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has suggested that Vincentians are so comfortable with their present day circumstances that the chairs at the annual wreath laying ceremony on National Heroesâ Day could not be filled, whereas during indentureship we walked miles barefoot and in torn clothing to protest working conditions.
As he addressed the ceremony at the Obelisk at Dorsetshire Hill on Tuesday, March 14, Gonsalves said indentured workers walked over eight miles from Argyle to Kingstown to protest.
âWell, we are so comfortable today that we canât even get
the chairs filled up here on National Heroesâ morning
at 8 oâclock. I just provide that as a self-criticism; thatâs why we must not desecrate the future,â Gonsalves said. During his address, the Prime Minister made special mention of 4,000 acres of land at Argyle on which the Argyle International Airport now sits, which he said is rich in history.
He encouraged persons to read and to study the history, adding that in studying the history, one must understand there are different perspectives on historical events.
âFor instance, the death of Chatoyer, â¦ it is accepted â¦ that he died on March the 14th. But, the colonial version of history is that this great leader of the Garifuna people, who was followed all over St Vincent and the Grenadinesâ¦ that a Lieutenant Colonel in the Colonial army engaged him at duel and defeated him. Thatâs their version,â the Prime Minister said.
He, however, noted that after Britain had invaded St Vincent, it took that country about 30 years to effect a victory over the Kalinago and the Garifuna people.
âThat sound like a man who you kill in duel? â¦This is what I mean. I give that as an example of the different perspectives which we must bring.
âWe must know who we are and have our perspective and our history. Not in an isolationist, chauvinistic or petty nationalistic perspective; a perspective grounded in the facts, but pointing towards our own dignity and our ennoblement,â Gonsalves stated firmly.
He noted that while there are many books written on the history of the country, there is still a need for us to write a comprehensive history for the schools.