I have been following the reparations discussion in your newspaper. I wish to add some comments.
Many persons in the region are suspicious of the agendas of CARICOM and the
respective national governments in leading the call for reparations. This is
understandable. CARICOM and our national governments have not done a good job of representing the common person’s interests in many issues in the region and in the international arena.
We can all agree that the most systemic effect of native genocide and slavery, the root of social inequalities in Caribbean societies is land tenureship. I don’t think that this issue requires reparations to be addressed by the national governments.
CARICOM and our national governments can demonstrate to us, in a tangible way, their genuine commitment to repairing the effects of native genocide and slavery by land reforms in the region. This is an issue that is a humbug to regional agriculture and our ability to adequately feed ourselves. In the case of Guyana, the issue of ancestral lands and Amerindian land tenureship has been outstanding for decades (though I did note that Amerindian land titles will be addressed from the funds of the Norway forest pact).
The beginning of the reparations process in the region should begin with national governments and the regional body ensuring that all of the descendants of native genocide and slavery have access to the basis of production and self-determination, land.