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Ecomomics key factor in exploitation
Economics was the main driving force behind slavery and remains as a key factor in the exploitation of people in contemporary times. This point was underscored by Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, chairman of the Siparia Regional Corporation (SRC), when the SRC hosted Emancipation Day celebrations last Thursday, at the Siparia Market Complex.
Reminding the gathering that slavery started in 1783 and slaves were brought in to labour on the sugar estates in the Caribbean, Ramadharsingh said after Emancipation the slaves wanted nothing to do with the estates because of the harsh and cruel treatment they had on the plantations prior to relocation. He said, again because of economics, the Indians were brought in as Indentured labourers and toiled under similar conditions. Ramadharsingh said it is important to look at the ways economics created cruelty, punishment and slavery.
Ramadharsingh opined that economic exploitation nurtures the suffering inflicted on migrants fleeing countries globally to escape the harsh realities of existence their homelands. Citing the case of Venezuelans migrating in T&T as an example, he said many of them have faced exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous nationals. “We owe a duty of care to the good people of Venezuela,” said Ramadharsingh, “to ensure they are treated with respect, are paid fair wages, and are protected in T&T because they too are economic migrants.
Therefore, if we speak about our own struggles, we must ensure that we do not impose hardships on others in the very same way. We have to reflect on what economics is forcing us to do and to create situations of imprisonment, punishment and slavery in a very new way.”
Ramadharsingh said it was important that people emancipate themselves from mental slavery, adding that mental enslavement needs one to go into a state of deep reflection in order to escape its clutches. “Are we enslaving ourselves mentally by our hatred, by our bitterness, by our history,” said Ramadharsingh. “Are we judging people by our circumstances? That is mental slavery.”
Ramadharsingh said slavery continued well into the 20th century in places as Saudi Arabia and Angola. He said the Africa people survived slavery because of revolt, revolution and strength that today has led them to become captains of industry.
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