Caribbean leaders to be voice of reparatory justice, stand up to former colonial powers

The conference is entitled, ‘Beyond Reparations: Strengthening the Slave Route Project in the Caribbean Region’. It has attracted academics, activists, writers and NGOs from the region to discuss issues related to the slave route project in the Caribbean, including the matter of reparation.

To a round of applause, the deputy prime minister commended the Rastafarian movement for its long and persistent advocacy for the Caribbean to address matters of reparation for the long inhumane suffering experienced by the regions’ African ancestors and the continued impact slavery and colonialism have had on the region’s development. He also praised the Caribbean’s political leadership.

He said, “I am pleased that Caribbean leaders have taken their rightful place at the forefront of the decade-long struggle for reparatory justice.” According to the deputy prime minister, today’s “generation of leaders will be the voices to demand that the colonial powers in Britain, France, The Netherlands and other parts of Europe return to the scenes of their crimes… and contribute to our efforts to heal and rehabilitate the Caribbean from the wounds of our colonial past”.

Deputy PM Richards believes that the reparatory justice aim will be a “defining struggle of the 21st Century”, for people of African descent in the Caribbean and elsewhere. He said that the federation is proud to be a part of that process.

But Richards took time to point out that while there are many things that need to be fixed in the socio-economic life of the Caribbean, it was highly crucial to properly attend to the preparation of the next generation.

Richards opined, “The preparation of the next generation is one of those responsibilities and challenges that cannot be postponed. This is ultimately the urgency of reinventing the way we educate our youth… Our approach to education must have a distinctive cultural orientation based on the unique values, disposition, worldview and spiritual beliefs that define our identity as Caribbean men and women.

He reminded the audience that our fore parents knew the value of education, and historically, it has been a struggle that has shaped who we are as a people, so it is important how we teach our children is “vitally important”.

“Our schools must not be places where our young people are convinced of their inferiority,” said Richards, who believes that countering the “internalization of slave status,” (instilled through the brutalization of mind and body) we must pursue a type of education builds confidence and self-esteem in our young people.

Meanwhile, the general public has been invited to attend a symposium called, ‘Pipe Dream or Reality – The Fight for Reparations in the Caribbean Sub-Region’, to be held July 7, at the Sir Cecil Jacobs Auditorium of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

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