Saint Kitts and Nevis commemorates Victims of Transatlantic Slave Trade

The Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council held a special sitting on March 25, 2024, to commemorate the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The event, themed ‘Global Freedom: Emancipate yourself from mental slavery,’ marked the end of the VII Inter-American Week for People of African Descent in the Americas, now officially recognized in the OAS calendar.

Jacinth Henry Martin

The delegation from Saint Kitts and Nevis, led by Ambassador Jacinth Henry Martin, Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the OAS, delivered a compelling address. Henry Martin emphasized the crucial role of education in overcoming mental enslavement and instilling pride and self-awareness among citizens.

In her speech, the Ambassador highlighted the nation’s commitment to empowering its people through education and land ownership. “The cure for mental slavery is self-awareness, education, pride in self, and the conviction to stand up for our rights! As a people of African descent, the citizens of Saint Kitts and Nevis are fully vested in our own human worth, appreciate our potential to surpass any obstacle to greatness, and look to a future in which our enlightened minds continue to free us from the scourges of physical and mental slavery,” she stated.

Lorna Ava Henry

The ambassador underscored education as a tool for socioeconomic advancement, noting Saint Kitts and Nevis’ dedication to providing free and mandatory education, along with opportunities for tertiary education and lifelong learning. “Education is power, and a solid education is the antidote to racism, mental slavery, ignorance, and racial hypocrisy, and it is the ladder for climbing rung by rung to emerge out of the hell-born of the vestiges of imposed slavery,” she affirmed.

Henry Martin also outlined the nation’s efforts to address systemic injustices stemming from slavery, including initiatives to promote land and home ownership, scholarships for academic advancement, and the protection of rights for descendants of enslaved individuals.

The week-long celebration also spotlighted the contributions of two distinguished citizens of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Lorna Ava Henry, a former Dance Specialist in the Ministry of Culture and lead dancer/choreographer with the Okolo Tegremantine Arts Theatre, and David Freeman, a fifer/folklorist extraordinaire. Both were recognized for their significant contributions to preserving African cultural heritage through the arts and were highlighted on the OAS website among other exponents of the arts from across the Americas.