PM Phillips reaffirms Guyana’s support for Reparation

Called for Guyanese to take advantage of opportunities for advancement

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), the Honourable Mark Phillips, has reiterated his government’s steadfast support for reparations for the crime of African enslavement and the slave trade.
“As a government, we are committed to ensuring that we join with the struggle of our African people to ensure that reparation is declared and paid to the African people in the diaspora, including Guyana.”
The Prime Minister made these remarks at the Revival Awareness and Perpetuation of African Culture (RAPAC) Emancipation Festival, held at the All Saints Ground, New Amsterdam, Berbice, on Emancipation Day.


Delivering a message of unity and equality, Prime Minister Phillips underlined that Emancipation Day is one of the most important days in the history of Guyana as it is celebrated in recognition of the courageous efforts and sacrifices of men and women of African descent in the fight for their freedom and that of their descendants.

In highlighting the historical significance of emancipation, the Prime Minister stated that emancipation for enslaved Africans was not an event but rather a process recounting the history of slavery in Guyana, which led to uprisings such as the Magdalenenburg plantation, upper Canje River Berbice, in February 1763 led by Cuffy, a house salve, as well as the Demerara Rebellion of 1823.

He went on to explain that in 1834, enslaved Africans became free men as a result of the ‘Abolition Act’ passed by colonial masters to terminate enslavement. However, the colonial masters forced the ex-slaves to spend four years on their estate, which was known as apprenticeship.

This year marks the 185th anniversary of Emancipation, as well as the 260th anniversary of the Berbice Slave Revolt and the 200th anniversary of the Demerara Revolt.


The Prime Minister also spoke of the government’s commitment to ensuring equitable access to social and economic programmes, such as free education, healthcare and housing and water, to all Guyanese, including Afro-Guyanese.
“We as a government will continue to work to design programs and projects for the benefit of all Guyanese.”

He categorically stated, “development is for all the people of Guyana, regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of sexual orientation, any discriminatory One Guyana will surmount and ensure every Guyanese benefit from what the PPP/c government will deliver in goods and services to people.”

The Prime Minister emphasised that African Guyanese play an important role in all aspects of national development and urged everyone to work together towards progress.
“You have a government that I am the Prime Minister of, and we do not have a policy that will promote discrimination in Guyana. What is important is when we design all these programs and all these projects, our people must remain ‘woke’. You must understand, you must be aware of the developments and the opportunities around you, and you must grab those opportunities.”

The Prime Minister, while in New Amsterdam, also attended the emancipation celebrations of the Organisation for Social and Health Advancement in Guyana (OSHAG) at the Youth, Sport and Culture Building in Smithfield, where he also delivered brief remarks.
During his address to the crowded venue, the Prime Minister lambasted opposition elements for their desperate attempts at suggesting that “cash hand-outs” from the oil revenue are what Guyanese need.

“The Buxton Proposal where they want to get 5,000 US dollars a year for each family, each household in Guyana; now, if you have 200,000 homes in Guyana, that amount to a billion US dollars per year…I want to tell you that for this year in the budget, we have over a billion US dollars, which is 200 million Guyana dollars – spending on housing, infrastructure, on building new schools, building new hospitals and health centres to improve the lives and livelihoods of all the people of Guyana.”

He added, “We have transformed payments in the form of increased pensions for people. The old age pensions have increased, the NIS pensions have increased, and payments to people who were affected by COVID. We have the part-time job facility where we are paying people who are unemployed $40,000 for ten days of work, and we are urging them to sign up for the GOAL scholarship so they could improve their education, learn a trade and then they could move on to get a full-time job.”

The Prime Minister further noted that numerous other opportunities are currently available in Guyana for educational advancement at technical institutes and universities. Additionally, initiatives have been implemented to promote economic growth and entrepreneurship by creating a supportive environment.

“Guyana is being modernised, and you have to take the opportunities available to you to be part of that modernisation, that development and also to improve the lives and livelihoods of yourself and the future generation of Guyanese. We need to take all the opportunities presented by the government for self-improvement, for education, for development…these opportunities lead to true freedom, true emancipation, and that is the direction we want everybody to go.”


The Prime Minister called for unity and collaboration on Emancipation Day, urging African Guyanese institutions to work together.

“What we need is greater unity among ourselves…we have to leave here and go to another African Guyanese function not far from here when we could’ve had one big function here in New Amsterdam for all African Guyanese. But we are prepared to work with you. We are prepared to work with all the groups because at the end of the day, as we forge a nation that must be proud and strong, all African Guyanese groups must work together.”

Prime Minister Phillips also assured of the government’s support for organisers requesting an African heritage monument in the region.
“We would like you to establish a committee involving all the groups in region six to determine where the monument must be. My government will support you. We will fund that monument. You must work as a group and show us unity among yourselves and have an agreement once and for all where that monument must be located.”