Belfast, NORTHERN IRELAND: The inaugural Emancipation Day observance in Northern Ireland took place through a joint initiative of the Moravian Church University Road, Consulate General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Northern Ireland, Barbados High Commission in London and the African Caribbean Support Organisation Northern Ireland.
Emancipation Day is commemorated throughout the Caribbean as a public holiday or national observance on August 1st.
Emancipation Day on August 1st 1834 was a historical moment, because it brought a formal end to perhaps the most inhuman institution in the history of humanity – chatell slavery and indentured servitude.
Presiding Minister – Rev Dr Livingstone Thompson, Preacher – H.E. Rev Guy Hewitt, Barbados High Commissioner to the UK, Cllr. Deirdre Hargey – Lord Mayor of Belfast and Dr Christopher Stange – Consul General for St. Vincent and the Grenadines lead the proceedings.
Music, poetry, lessons and dance were provided by members of the Caribbean community in Northern Ireland.
The event was attended by elected representatives, members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, clergy, dignitaries, leaders and members of the Caribbean community, and friends of the Caribbean.
“This day is very special for Caribbean Nationals,” said Consul General Dr Stange. “It marks the beginning of the end of slavery but also a time for all of us to remember and reflect that we still have a lot of freedom to fight for. History always has its place.”