Full emancipation of African slaves on August 1, 1838, may have occurred 340 years after the historic arrival of Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus in 1498.But last weekend, residents of Moruga created a history of their own as they brought together Emancipation and Discovery festivities for the first time.The memorable event, dubbed Majestic Moruga, ended with a scintillating performance by soca king Machel Montano, who was sponsored by Works Minister Jack Warner.Since the abolition of Discovery Day in 1985 by former Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams, Moruga residents had held fast to their tradition of reenacting the arrival of Columbus, who named the country La Trinity, after spotting the Trinity Hills at La Punta de La Playa, Moruga.MP for the area Clifton De Couteau said each year, residents, led by the Moruga 500 Committee, marked the anniversary of the arrival of the Spaniards by holding a beach show. He said this year, the majestic qualities of the Moruga people were showcased through a cultural queen show, a cookout, a calypso monarch competition, a farmers market, a street parade, a Regata boat race and a surf fishing competition.
The week of activities was almost hijacked by angry protestors who were upset over the killing of Abigail Johnson, 20, Kerron Eccles, 26, and Alana Duncan, 22. But at the last moment, after Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs intervened, the protestors backed off.The reenactment of Columbus' arrival, which started around 4 pm on Emancipation Day, took many by surprise. While loud music blared from the speaker boxes positioned on the shore, the three historic ships-The Pinta, Nina and Santa Maria, sped to the shore.The sailors said the tide was rising quickly and they had to make a swift entry. The ships were decorated with coconut leaves, flags and wooden sword-wielding drunk sailors. Nigel Scott of Diego Martin, who played the part of Columbus, disembarked from the Santa Maria speaking Spanish.He was immediately surrounded by dozens of Tainos and Kalinagoes, who wore crocus bags and face paint. In an interview, Scott said T&T had come a long way since the arrival of the Spaniards. He said the issues of crime that is plaguing T&T, was in no way measurable to the mass killings and genocide of the indigenous people in the fifteenth century. Scott said Government was tackling crime in an orderly and effective manner by introducing preventative and combative strategies.Meanwhile, Warner also showered praises on the Moruga people for keeping alive their heritage and traditions.