PHILIPSBURG:--- On July 1st, the Government of St. Maarten commemorated the end of Slavery with their annual Emancipation Day ceremony and activities. This is the 158th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Abolishment of Slavery on Sint Maarten. The theme this year is “No More Auction Block!”
The Department of Communication has put together a Special of this day’s event, and it premiered on the St. Maarten Government YouTube/SXMGOV channel as well as Facebook at SXM Gov.
To commemorate this remembrance, the end of slavery, an Ecumenical Service was held at St. Martin of Tour’s Church in Philipsburg and a cultural manifestation on the boardwalk at The Watkins House, a historically important location previously used as slave depot, where enslaved persons were bought and sold. At this location, speeches were given by the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport, drs. Rodolphe Samuel and Prime Minister of St. Maarten Silveria Jacobs, and the Governor of St. Maarten.
Meanwhile and interspersed throughout the program, there were several manifestations of culture, from poetry to renditions of songs, to not only reflect on the inhumanity and cruelty of the past but also to celebrate and hope of a brighter tomorrow, especially in times of the Pandemic.
Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, drs. Rodolphe Samuel in his speech reflected on what it must have been like to go through the horrific experience of being enslaved, from the trek on board a ship to being auctioned off and then living and working as an enslaved person. He elaborated further in his speech.
The Prime Minister also provide the attending public and invited guests with a speech that focused on inspiring in these trying times. And thanked the previous pioneers for their contribution to making this day a reality. Prime Minister Jacobs further elaborates on the topic itself and how it is important to work together for the betterment of the country.
After the speeches, there was a dramatic reenactment of a slave auction at the location.
The DCOMM tv/video Special is an hour long and will be aired at 9pm on Sunday, July 18 on Channel 115 Cable TV and has been posted today on Facebook/SXMGOV and YouTube/SXMGOV channel.
The Parliament of Sint Maarten established this first public holiday on July 1st as Emancipation Day.