Thursday, 05 December 2013
Mr. President, Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen:
I have the distinct honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the 14 Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). One of the greatest artists of our Caribbean Civilisation, the late Robert Nesta Marley, once sang in hissong “Slave Driver” that: Every time I hear the crack of a whip,my blood runs cold. I remember on the slave ship, how they brutalised my very soul.
It is that brutalisation that brings us together in this International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
For as Bob Marley makes clear, the slave ship was beyond anindignity. It was beyond barbarism. It was beyond inhuman. It was, apart from the physical atrocities, abrutalisation of the psyche of a people so violent and enduring that it has created a shared culturalmemory of the trauma.
A collective memory that lives so vividly in the souls of those who have died thatit is bequeathed to those of us who live today and to those yet unborn. For the CARICOM Member Statesat the United Nations, it is a scar that is 14 countries wide and 400 years deep. For the world, it remains a festering sore on the conscience of humanity.