Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Dear Editor: Christopher Columbus statue is a symbol to Trinbagonians’ lack of self-respect 

Dear Editor: Christopher Columbus statue is a symbol to Trinbagonians’ lack of self-respect 

“[…] We have refused to remove a statue, erected by one of our former colonial powers at the entrance to our capital city in honour of Christopher Columbus. Yes, the same Columbus who ushered in a reign of terror in our hemisphere that is unparalleled in the history of the world.

A statue is a symbol of our great esteem for an individual. In fact, some religions forbid the erection of such monuments, given the doctrine of the supremacy of God wherefore such reverence should be reserved for God only.

“[…] We have no self-respect…”

The following Letter to the Editor on Trinidad and Tobago’s persevering with a statue of Christopher Columbus while his statue is toppled and removed elsewhere in the western hemisphere was submitted to Wired868 by Louis W Williams of St Augustine:

Photo: The statue of Christopher Columbus in Port-of-Spain.

Do we really expect anyone to take us seriously when we seek reparations for the atrocities of over three centuries of African slavery, coupled with the decimation of the First Peoples of the Caribbean—the worst crimes against humanity in the history of the world? We have no self-respect!

The Jewish people showed the world what self-respect means, in the aftermath of the (Nazi) Holocaust (in Germany from 1933 to 1945) under the leadership of the evil dictator, Adolph Hitler.

The Jewish people had little or no difficulty convincing the rest of the world of the need to grant them reparations. The German people were contrite, and ensured, via legislation and otherwise, that all public symbols of Hitler and any Nazi paraphernalia were removed. Hitler and Nazism were relegated to the history books. They were not afforded a place of honour.

Needless to say, there are no statues of Hitler, other symbols of Hitler or of Nazism in Israel.

We seek reparation too, but what have we done to earn the respect of the rest of the world?

Photo: A Christopher Columbus statue is taken down in St Paul, Minnesota.

We have refused to remove a statue, erected by one of our former colonial powers at the entrance to our capital city in honour of Christopher Columbus. Yes, the same Columbus who ushered in a reign of terror in our hemisphere that is unparalleled in the history of the world.

A statue is a symbol of our great esteem for an individual. In fact, some religions forbid the erection of such monuments, given the doctrine of the supremacy of God wherefore such reverence should be reserved for God only.

We did not have a say when the statue was erected or know better then. However, we know better now. Therefore, we must do better. We are not rewriting history, we are ‘righting’ it.

Our former colonial powers as well as the Roman Catholic and the Anglican Churches have all acknowledged and apologised for their role in the brutal subjugation of the First Peoples and our African ancestors, although they have not put their money where their mouth is, regarding reparations.

So what is the reason for the delay in removing the Columbus statue? Which self-respecting citizen wants the statue to remain where it is and for what reason?

Photo: A vandalised statue of Christopher Columbus in Boston.
(Copyright AP)

Why do we need to establish a committee and embark on widespread consultations to seek advice on whether or not the statue should be removed? Don’t we know right from wrong?

We are already behind time. History will not be kind to us!

To add insult to injury, more than a year ago, our Prime Minister informed us that he intended to establish a committee and hold consultations on this matter. I guess Covid-19 will be blamed for the inertia witnessed in this regard.

It tells us all we need to know about how important the PM considers this matter to be.

It is so ironic that these developments are taking place at the time when the United Nations is celebrating the International Decade (2015-24) for People of African Descent. 

Photo: Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley wears African robes on Emancipation Day.
(via OTPM)

Moreover, our first prime minister, Dr Eric Williams, was a world-renowned historian, whose seminal work, Capitalism and Slavery, is even today globally revered by scholars and others.

Mr Prime Minister, take down this abominable statue of Christopher Columbus now!

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