This spoken word performance by Cyndi Celeste, titled “Heads or Tails,” set the tone for the launch of Rum and Sargassum’s latest project in Bridgetown this week.
“The threat of global climate change has shown up in Sargassum seaweed crossing the Atlantic from the coasts of West Africa and landing on our shores. But this reminds me of the Atlantic slave trade, from around 1530 to around 1860, when 12.5 million captured persons were placed on ships, against their will, and sent to the Americas. I find it poetic and moving that the Sargassum has chosen to navigate the same route many of our ancestors traversed. Both the memory of our ancestors and the current reality of the Sargassum on our seashore—our coastlines—spawn significant concerns,” said Dr. Legena Henry, CEO and Founder of Rum and Sargassum Inc.
“Today socio-economic imbalances resulting from the immoral Atlantic Slave Trade show up as crime culture, poverty, analysis paralysis, apathy. The result of Sargassum is seen in poor health outcomes in our coastal regions, impacted marine life, shifts in tourism, and strained coastal ecosystems. It is in honor of our brave resilient ancestors and with concern for our brave and becoming children, that we must unite our efforts and seek innovative solutions to combat these past and present challenges,” she added.
The Rum & Sargassum project, called SarGASsum, is funded in part by a €300,000 research grant received in April from the Harnessing Innovative Technologies to Support Resilient Settlements on the Coastal Zones of the Caribbean initiative, more commonly known as HIT RESET Caribbean.
HIT RESET Caribbean is being executed by The University of the West Indies, and co-applicants, Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management and Anton de Kom University of Suriname. It is funded by the ACP Innovation Fund and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States’ Research and Innovation Programme, with the financial contribution of the European Union.