Sir Hilary Beckles— CARICOM Reparations Commission Chair—calls for a Caribbean-wide rally 

hbecklesA two-day conference hosted by the Antigua and Barbuda government and the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission ended with a call for Caribbean nationals “to rally ‘round the cause of reparatory justice.” Chairperson of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Reparations Commission, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, said the movement has been energized and the Commission is working towards mounting a region-wide rally. Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:

“We are going to organize, with the support of all of these national commissions, a regional rally in which we will move the reparations banner from the northern Caribbean, through to the centre, to the south, all the way through to Brazil,” Sir Hilary told reporters at the close of the Second Regional Conference on Reparations late Tuesday.

The renowned historian and Principal of the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), said such an event would engage the talents of artists, musicians and youth, while bringing regional and global attention to the matter. “We believe that as a result of this conference in the last two to three days that we have moved further along than we would have been had we not come,” he said.

CARICOM assistant secretary general for human and social development, Douglas Slater, said that the key ideas and interventions from the conference would be submitted the prime ministerial subcommittee on reparations headed by Barbados Prime Minister Freundal Stuart.

[. . .] One of the major interventions in the conference came from a plenary session featuring Jamaican Youth and Culture Minister, Lisa Hannah who called for more youth involvement in the reparations movement. [. . .] But youth is not the only demographic the Commission plans to engage. Sir Hilary noted that the Diaspora is a group with considerable influence.

“It is recognized that we are building a global network of reparations commissions. In Britain, just two months ago, there as a major rally of Caribbean peoples, of African peoples to the British parliament, we are in contact with the African communities on this matter. Just three weeks ago in Washington, I addressed the Congressional Black Caucus and they agreed that one of the initiatives going forward is to establish an American national commission on reparations and to do so on the CARICOM model and they’ve also agreed to investigate how soon they can launch that national commission within the context of a meeting with the CARICOM commission,” Sir Hilary told reporters.

He explained that that early 2015, will likely see the establishment of an American Commission, launched in New York, largely due to the large Caribbean and African community and such a commission would be modeled after the one created by CARICOM. He also anticipates the establishment of a national commission in Brazil.

“We are going to build a global network of commissions. This is where we’re going because slavery and the slave trade were global crimes and the only way this is going to be effectively addressed in terms of reparatory action is on a global scale. And this is what we’re doing, step by step, brick by brick, we’re building this global alliance,” he added. [. . .]

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