Former President David Granger has said the bicentenary of the 1823 Demerara Revolt in Guyana should be seen as a national event while noting that the “historical significance of the massacres and the lives of the martyrs seemed to have been misunderstood and underestimated”.
In a Peoples National Congress press release on Friday, Granger called on the country “to embrace, wholeheartedly”, the bicentenary of the Demerara Revolt of 1823 which will be observed in 2023.
He said the Revolt resulted in the “most massive massacre” in the Caribbean and such a “momentous event” should be commemorated.
Over 11,000 rebels from 55 plantations were involved in the Revolt which also saw 200 “martyrs” shot dead at Bachelor’s Adventure, and others summarily executed on the East Coast, and at the Militia Parade Ground, Granger said.
According to the press release, Granger made the remarks during the programme, ‘Public Interest’.
“Mr. Granger, as President, had issued an official declaration to commemorate the massacre on 20th August each year. He had also issued declarations for the commemoration of the massacres at Rose Hall in which thirteen workers were shot dead on 13th March 1913 and at Enmore in which five workers were killed on 16th June 1948, by the colonial police. He said that the historical significance of the massacres and the lives of the martyrs seemed to have been misunderstood and underestimated,” the release stated.
It added: “Mr. Granger compared the historical massacres on Guyana’s plantations with the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement which became a global movement after the murder of George Floyd in the USA in May 2020, eventually enveloping about 25 million persons in 2,000 cities in all continents. Statues of English slave-traders, Portuguese rulers, Spanish conquistadores, the King of Belgium and others were knocked off their pedestals and vandalised.”
“The bicentenary of the 1823 Demerara Revolt of should be seen as national event. The vast majority of Guyanese living today are descendants of the victims of the enslavement and indentureship systems of plantation labour. To this end, he said the commemoration should be an opportunity for Guyanese to re-examine their common experiences and shared nationhood.”