Remarks by Hon. Valerie Adams-Yearwood, Minister within the Ministry of Agriculture during the Ministry’s Emancipation celebration

Honorable Noel Holder M.P, Min. of Agriculture, PS Delma Nedd, DPS Aretha Henry & Dacia Ferguson, Other senior Officials of Agencies & Departments, staff, media etc.

Today is a very special day in the life of all of us at the MOA. I am particularly happy to be a part of this Emancipation activity and hope that you are too.

As we mark Emancipation Day 2019, we must reflect on the heroism, the great courage and indomitable will of our forefathers & mothers, as well as the legacy they have bestowed to us.

We must remember those who were insistent in demanding their dignity and their resoluteness in struggling against their dehumanization. They did so because they had a vision of a new kind of life for themselves and their families.

Today we must draw on the rich reservoir of our history to drive our actions forward.  We are emancipated from the shackles of chattel slavery, but there are still some chains which hold us back. We must rid ourselves of them and break free: Racism & Unforgiveness are the root cause of DIVISION in our nation.

Let us remember that Emancipation Day is a significant observance for ALL of us. ALL regardless of ethnicity or culture because the African fight to end slavery ensured that no other people on this earth would be able to be enslaved again.

We must use our freedom to foster healthy, nurturing families, which are at the foundation of building a healthy and prosperous society.

A wholesome family life is indispensable to   nationhood. Let us, in practical tribute to those who fought so hard to end slavery, honor their memory by building strong families.

Slave society was built on division and conflict.  Today, in meaningfully celebrating Emancipation, let us recommit to the fight against racism and all forms of division among our people. Let us always strive to emphasize our unity. The song writer says “Let’s get together and feel alright”.

Let us reaffirm that unity is strength. Those who struggled for our emancipation knew that it was important to pull together, not apart. But all this can only be achieved if we develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.

“He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.” There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us.

Martin Luther-King says “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.”

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
Nelson Mandela

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Nelson Mandela