No retreat on slavery reparations CARICOM vows

| 04/03/2015 | 21 Comments
Cayman News Service

Prime Minister of Barbados Freundel Stuart

(CNS): The prime minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart, who is the chair of the CARICOM sub-committee on reparations, has made it clear that the Caribbean Community “is irrevocably committed” to pursuing restorative justice for the Atlantic Slave trade from the former slave trading nations of Europe. But he also has said the battle will be one of engagement and not protest.

Speaking at a press conference at the end of the latest CARICOM heads of government meeting in the Bahamas, Stuart pointed to diplomacy as the way forward because the regional governments all want to maintain the modern relationships they now have with the relevant countries

“It is an issue to which the entire region is irrevocably committed and there is going to be no retreat on the issue of reparations,” he said. “But the point has to be made that we do not pursue the issue of reparations on the basis of a diplomacy of protest. We are pursuing the issue of reparations on the basis of a diplomacy of engagement. And that is very important because all of us have today civilized diplomatic relations with former slave trading nations and we’re not about to undermine, depreciate or destroy those relations.”

However, Stuart said the region could not turn its back on the history and legacy of slavery and native genocide. He explained that discussions with the former slave trading countries would be first looking for areas of agreement and a possible amicable and civilized resolution. He hinted that it wasn’t necessarily going to be easy to quantify specific cash compensation and the idea was to consider the region’s areas of continuing deficit — “social deficit, economic deficit and sometimes political deficit” — and, he said “try to see what developmental initiatives we can initiate as a result of our discussions to redress some of these hideous imbalances”.

Stuart said that the regional effort would be linked to related international developments.

“The United Nations has just designated the current decade as the International Decade for People of African Descent, and the victims of slavery and native genocide have been predominantly people of African descent. Therefore we have to take full advantage of this decade to ensure that the agenda of the decade reflects some of our more fundamental concerns,” he added

The prime minister pointed out that the legacy that CARICOM is fighting did not take shape overnight. “It is not going to be dismantled overnight but we have to start somewhere and we are starting with the pursuit of reparatory justice,” Stuart said.

The issue of reparations has been high on the CARICOM agenda and last year the Caribbean Reparatory Justice Programme (CRJP) was agreed as a basis for discussions. It is part of a strategic and operational plan prepared by the regional reparations commission consisting of ten points that need to be addressed.

“There is a legacy with which we are dealing, and what we are trying to sensitise former slave trading nations to, is the existence of that legacy and the connection between that legacy and their actions in the 17th and 18th and part of the 19th century as well,” Stuart added.

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Category: Caribbean, World News

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Dude, Lincoln freed the slaves more than 250 years ago. Get over it and stop trying to cash in on BS.

    • Mary says:

      We need to consider post-Emancipation history a little more deeply. One example of many: what happened to black GIs returning home after World War II compared to white GIs? White GIs were given opportunities to buy homes on excellent terms, as they should have been. Black GIs were excluded from those opportunities, which was wrong (and an example of “institutionalized racism”). Home ownership is hugely important in respect to our own economic stability and what we pass on to our children. So even though Lincoln freed the slaves 150 years ago, racism and unequal opportunities did not end. And housing is just one example.
      So, let’s look at little more closely at history and its repercussions. Race: The Power of an Illusion (part III) (from National Geographic, I think) is a video resource. Cracking the Codes (from World-Trust) is another excellent video resource.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Agree with those here who don’t want work permit system. I say send all foreign workers home. No more problems from us.

    Then we should sue the Jamaican government (the Philipines & Canada next) for lost wages, money being sent back to build up Jamaica, lost opportunities and now mentally enslaved, or unemployed people, because since their independence their workers/investors (black AND WHITE) have come here and taken over our political system, civil service, judiciary and convinced the ‘white folks dem’ that Caymanians didn’t like them, but guess who started that? Not dem? Started when we wouldn’t leave the British like they did and now they have to come begging the British to give them everything. Stop the foolish talk about reparations because it would only be given to corrupt politicians anyway, it’s always been the blacks selling out their own blacks.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You make perfect sense. However, the same spirit of racism that brought about and prolonged the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade is still alive and kicking in the hearts and minds of many of the readers and posters of CNS, therefore your points are being ridiculed and disregarded en masse.

    This will never change. It is what it is.

    Personally, the way I approach this reality is;

    “Hate me as much as want – I am still here. Not going anywhere.”

  4. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    This topic is pissing me off, as are many of the comments. The realities are, if we care to venture there fortunes were made from the slave trade which were the foundations of many we see today. In fact, the financing for that most reputable of institutions, the Bank of England, was made possible by the income from the trade in African slaves. Some three and a half million souls were put in chains, and then transported to the colonies to work on plantations owned by British gentry, the taxes paid to the U.K. government. Mansions and estates were also bought and paid for by the plantation owners, these included Lords, Dukes, and Members of Parliament. Caricom is requesting not only a deserved financial compensation for the descendants of slaves but an acknowledgedment of the practice and it’s legacy. This will not includThis topic is pissing me off, as are many of the comments. The realities are, if we care to venture there fortunes were made from the slave trade which were the foundations of many we witness today. In fact, the financing for that most reputable of institutions, the Bank of England, was made possible by the income from the trade in African slaves. Some three and a half million souls were put in chains, and then transported to the colonies to work on plantations owned by British gentry, the taxes paid to the U.K. government. Mansions and estates were also bought and paid for by the plantation owners, these included Lords, Dukes, and Members of Parliament. Caricom is not only financial compensation for the descendants of slaves but an acknowledgedment of the practice and it’s legacy. This will not be a “nasty business that, old chap” but an actual and real acknowledgement of the devastation wrought on countless peoples and their descendants socially, morally, spiritually, AND financially. Those of you who continue to express “that was then this is now” as a defence of slavery and the compensation required for benefits derived from it have got your heads up your ass bite on this… for those who gained from it there wouldn’t be a “now” if there hadn’t been a “then”.

  5. Anything Goes says:

    How can educated people act like uneducated idiots? I guess it is just the nature of politicians. How about if the Europeans said give me back my islands and I will pay for you of African descent to all be returned to Africa? Would you think that was fair? People of African descent should be glad they are now Caribbean people and American people, because look at Africa and tell me which one is better off.

    • Anonymous says:

      If they pay 200 years of lost wages and damages for each slave killed I would gladly return to africa and they could keep little islands

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am surprised that they are not trying to take God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost to court over this.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Yet another selective re-writing of history. The basis of slavery was traders from Africa, mostly ethnic blacks and Arabs. They not only supplied the goods but often the transportation as well. It was only their involvement that allowed the ‘former slave trading nations of Europe’ to become involved. CARICOM are simply trying to ignore the past and make this another black-v-white issue. I would hope that the countries being targeted by this begging exercise tell them to get stuffed.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Savery is alive and well in cayman
    dear jesus
    please help us find freedom from work permits there are easy solutions available like paying for a work license that gives us the right to work in cayman
    we pay for the license ourselves based on the current permit we pay for but we own our own papers.
    work for whom we want not just master
    lord hear our prayer

    • Fuzzy says:

      It is DISGUSTING for you to compare some mildy hard times getting work to SLAVERY. YOU ARE PRECISELY the problem today. On the Cayman Islands that I grew up on we didn’t have anybody whining and complaining. Everyone pitched in, helped out, and got rewarded accordingly. And those rewards weren’t fancy cars or satellite dishes, they were friendships, good meals, and lasting memories. Nowadays you all want to be living in the biggest house and driving a new noisy car and cry like babies if those things aren’t given to you. First of all they aren’t important, second of all if you feel they are important (to you) then get of your ass, “pay for your own license” (as you say above) and go be the best person at your job so you can make a bunch of money and buy those things. Don’t whine and complain.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I bet that sub-committee is fun.

    “Have we asked for reparations yet”
    “Yes”
    “Did we get any”
    “No”
    “Did we get a response”
    “No”
    “What are we going to do”
    “I don’t know, I blame the legacy of slavery for my inability to take self-responsibility”.

  10. Anonymous says:

    My white ancestors were enslaved by black rulers in Egypt and I should paid for it

    • Anonymous says:

      And I am enslaved by the iniquitous Cayman Islands work permit system …

      • Anonymous says:

        The mere fact that you know the word iniquitous and its proper usage should exempt you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why do people want the Cayman Islands to have no immigration laws, open borders. Do your birth place have no immigration laws.?
        Bet they do and that they are enforced.

        • Anonymous says:

          the work permits in their current form promote slavery.
          In modern countries you get a work permit that you pay for that allows you to work but you are not owned by one man and you can Quit.
          In cayman the permit and the person attached is property that is allowed to be sold or rented to another and if the slave has a problem Master will send them away regardless of anything the slave has done to be a good member of the community.
          I personally know this I have 2 homes in cayman rotting and 4 cars yet my former employer has blacklisted me and I sit overseas unable to get a new permit. My former employer owes me, unpaid pension, salary and unpaid medical Yet nothing is done and govt officials don’t care they are well aware of this

    • Anonymous says:

      hmmm…..I beg you to pause for a moment and consider the subject and the normal response that because the day, week, hour, month, year has passed that somehow that time should bar an action. This seems logical at first glance considering the law has limitation periods in the civil court e.g you can sue in most situation after 6 years or something like that. But when we look to the criminal law, the adage “time does not run against the king” is the rule in English law.

      Further, I believe it shows a distasteful tendency of my European brother and sister to feel so strongly about making attempts to right some of the wrongs. Why are you so opposed doing the right thing becomes the question? It seems sometimes that comments are full of malice because your governments are asked to do the right thing.

      I think that displays exactly why it has taken this long to “bring an action” against responsible participants (e.g. government which existed then and exist to this day) as opposed to civilisation like Rome and Egypt which, now, do not existed. To refresh our memory, I was a young boy when South Africa still had apartheid and Mr. Mandela was imprisoned. My mother was a young girl when the same was occurring all across the U.S.A. So, we are really only one generation removed from the effects of salavry as a practice and I venture to say that the world was not ready for such amends 30 years ago.

      It is possible that we are still not ready for it as we can find “love” and tolerance for all sorts of previously immoral practices (hmmm. homosexuality). But to ask for forgiveness is a hard thing and it is so proved because we would rather not look in the “rear view” mirror.

      • Anonymous says:

        There are more slaves today that there were during the period CARICOM wants reparations would the money not be better spent trying to end slavery all together. are you saying that as your great grandparents were enslaved you deserve money more that those currently going through the hell of slavery?

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