Caricom Heads agree to seek slavery reparations from Europe

KINGSTON,  (Reuters) – Caricom leaders are moving forward with a plan to seek reparations from the former slave-owning states of Europe, according to a lawyer for the island nations. The Caribbean Community (Caricom) approved a 10-point plan for reparations at a two-day meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that was due to wrap up yesterday, said Martyn Day, a U.K.-based lawyer at Leigh Day, who is working on the case.

The Caribbean countries said that European governments in addition to being responsible for conducting slavery and genocide, also imposed 100 years of racial apartheid and suffering on freed slaves and the survivors of genocide.

The former slave-owning states of Europe “have refused to acknowledge such crimes or to compensate victims and their descendants,” according to a statement by Caricom.

The Caribbean continues to suffer from the effects of slavery today, Caricom said.

Caricom’s 10-point plan will pursue a full formal apology for slavery, repatriation to Africa, a development plan for the native Caribbean peoples and funding for cultural institutions.

It also seeks to address chronic diseases and psychological rehabilitation for trauma inflicted by slavery, technology transfer to make up for technological and scientific backwardness resulting from the slave era, and support for payment of domestic debt and cancellation of international debt.

The subject of reparations has simmered in the Caribbean for many years and opinions are divided. Some see reparations as delayed justice, while others see it as an empty claim and a distraction from modern social problems in Caribbean societies.

Slavery ended throughout the Caribbean in the 1800s in the wake of slave revolts, and left many of the region’s plantation economies in tatters.

A formal complaint will be presented to the European governments by the end of April, said Day.

“The complaint will undoubtedly go to the governments of Britain, France, Netherlands, and very likely Sweden, Norway, and Denmark,” Day said in an email. “The final decision on this has not yet been made, though,” he added.

Britain’s government is aware of the proposed legal action, according to its foreign office.

 

“Slavery was and is abhorrent. The United Kingdom unreservedly condemns slavery and is committed to eliminating it,” a representative said, adding that reparations are not the answer. “Instead, we should concentrate on identifying ways forward with a focus on the shared global challenges that face our countries in the 21st century,” the representative added.

Caricom will call for a conference in London during the summer for European and Caribbean nations to discuss the issues. The specific European countries to be invited to this conference have not yet been decided on by Caricom, Day said.

If the complaint is rejected, the Caricom nations will take their individual cases to the International Court of Justice, he added.

Logs placed across the road at Moblissa to prevent vehicles from accessing the Baishanlin site.

Baishanlin operations at standstill

Officials from Long Jiang Forest Industries Group are expected in Guyana next month for a ‘fact-finding mission’ as it seeks to fully take over the operations of logging firm Baishanlin whose operations have ground to a halt.

The windmill that once provided all of Huis T' Dieren with water is still standing tall.

Huis T’ Dieren

Photos by Joanna Khan   Just about 500 people live in Huis T’ Dieren, a bright and beautiful little village on the Esse-quibo Coast.

default placeholder

Economy was sluggish through first half of year

The economy was sluggish throughout the first of the year, according to Chairman of the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) Robin Stoby.

The window the perpetrators broke to enter Doorasammy’s home

Bandits threaten to take off with toddler during robbery

A young couple who recently moved into their home at Lot 139 Gangaram Village, East Canje and took over a grocery shop, is now fearful after bandits early yesterday morning held a gun to their four-year-old daughter and threatened abduction, while robbing them.

default placeholder

Foreign mission heads to be changed every three years

No Guyanese envoy will remain head of the same mission for more than three years, according to President David Granger. “Rotation of diplomats is of paramount importance [since] if a diplomat is kept in his or her position for too long they lose their effectiveness,” Granger said, when asked during the recording of last week’s edition of The Public Interest interview programme whether his government will be rotating heads of missions, in light of criticism that they remained for the most part static under the previous administration.

default placeholder

GGMC not doing enough to monitor removal of sand, loam at Linden – Trotman

Following complaints by the residents of Linden that sand and loam were being removed illegally from the region, Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman on Wednesday stated that the Guyana Geology and Mines Com-mission (GGMC) was not doing enough to monitor movement of the two materials as “people are literally trucking them away.” PPP/C Member of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Natural Resources Pauline Sukhai raised the issue during a committee hearing on Wednesday, while stating that the concerns were raised during the committee’s recent outreach to the community.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: