Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Committee Sir Hilary Beckles is pressing the case for reparations in an address to the House of Commons in Britain, Clive Bacchus of winnfm.com reports. Follow the link below to the original report, where you can listen to the complete address:
“My colleagues of the Commission are tasked with the preparation and presentation of the evidentiary basis for a contemporary truth: that the Government of Great Britain, and other European states that were the beneficiaries of enrichment from the enslavement of African peoples, the genocide of indigenous communities, and the deceptive breach of contract and trust in respect of Indians and other Asians brought to the plantations under indenture, have a case to answer in respect of reparatory justice.”
Sir Hilary said the genocide of native populations in the Caribbean is well known but it was also important to recognize the genocidal aspects of African chattel slavery in the Caribbean
“British slave ships brought 5.5 million enslaved Africans into their Caribbean colonies over 180 years.
When slavery was abolished in 1838 they were just 800,000 persons remaining. That is, a retention/survival rate of 15%. The regime of enslavement was crafted by policies and attitudes that were clearly genocidal,” he said.
“Jamaica received 1.5 million Africans. Only 300,000 remained at Emancipation, that is 20 percent. Barbados received 600,000 Africans. Only 83,000 remained at Emancipation, that is 14 percent.”
He argued that process of reparations would bring honor and dignity to both the people of the Caribbean as well as to the people of Great Britain and Europe.
Sir Hilary told the House of Commons that the British Parliament must be held accountable for the enslavement and genocide of Caribbean people.
“Like all of you gathered here this evening, I am aware that this Parliament prepared the official political basis of the crimes that defined the colonial past. It is here, in this House, that the evil system of slavery, and genocide, were established. This House passed laws, framed fiscal policies, and enforced the crimes that have produced harmful legacies and persistent suffering now in need of repair,” Sir Hilary said.
“This House also made emancipation from slavery and independence from colonialism an empowering reality. It is in here, we now imagine, that laws for reparatory justice can be conceptualized and implemented. It is in here, we believe, that the terrible wrongs of the past can be corrected, and humanity finally and truthfully liberated from the shame and guilt that have followed these historical crimes.”