180th Emancipation…Guyanese must look back on sacrifices of foreparents – GovtIn recognising the invaluable contributions that African ancestors and their descendants have made to the development of Guyana, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in its Emancipation message to the nation noted the importance of a governance mechanism for equal opportunity.The Party said the foundations of the Guyanese society and economy were firmly laid by them through hard work and commitment to their homeland. It noted that it is a historic 180th anniversary that provides yet another opportune moment to reflect on the sacrifices made by all Guyanese African ancestors.“As our Party once again recognises the tremendous sacrifices and the selflessOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeocontributions African ancestors made to our modern society, it wishes to reiterate the importance of the principle of racial equality, and a governance mechanism where each and every citizen, regardless of race, colour or creed, be given an equal opportunity to contribute to advancement of our society,” the PPP stated.The Party said too that it remained proud of the fact that it was the largest multi-ethnic political party and would continue to welcome all Guyanese into its ranks from all races and ethnicities. “…who, like our foreparents, share the vision of a society where the good life is enjoyed, not by a privileged few, but by the society as a whole,” as it sent Emancipation greetings to all Guyanese, in particular Afro-Guyanese.“Stripped of their humanity and dignity and forced to toil long hours, to say that our African ancestors suffered at the hands of the sugar planters would be a gross understatement. During that genocidal process, many were tortured and brutally killed for standing up for their rights. In the long march to freedom, many battles were fought, including the Berbice Slave Rebellion led by our National Hero, Cuffy.”The PPP also stated that the resilient spirit of resistance, demonstrated by AfricanSocial Cohesion Minister, Dr George Nortonancestors, prevailed and freedom was attained in August 1838. “Freed and successful in forging a society, having purchased a number of villages, there were attempts by the sugar planters to sabotage the slaves’ newly-won independence. However, their determination for success and peace resulted in their triumph,” it added.In Government’s Emancipation Day message, from Social Cohesion Minister with responsibility for culture, Dr George Norton, it was said that Guyanese must never forget about the sacrifices made by African ancestors. “It is imperative that we reflect and honour the sacrifices of those who fought against the inhumane customs of slavery. Men such as Cuffy, Damon and Quamina are the reasons why we are able to proudly sing that line in our National Anthem that reads “Land of the Free”,” Dr Norton said.The Minister continued, “My fellow Guyanese, the year 1838 and the fight for freedom shaped our destiny as a nation; it painted a clear picture of who we were going to be as a people. It was the abolition of slavery that triggered the influx of our foreparents from other continents. The arrival of our ancestors from Portugal, India and China, has added to the diversity and beauty of a more matured Guyana.”Further, the Minister said he believed that the most meaningful way to observe this Emancipation was to embrace and celebrate the status of being “One People” of “One Nation”, following “One Destiny”. More importantly, Dr Norton said Guyana’s rich history has taught everyone that great achievements and betterment come from a united effort, and, as such, no one should squander the legacy of our ancestors.“Let us embrace their traditions of cohesion, and exercise the spirit of resilience and courage in fighting against all forms of injustices and bigotry,” he added.