CARICOM should seek reparation for slavery, says UWI Pro-Vice Chancellor – 12th Feb 2013
Caricom Governments need to create a regional reparation agency to present an international case against its former colonizers.
Describing slavery as the “Worst Crime against humanity”, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Professor Hillary Beckles, called for an ‘informed and sensible conversation’.
He said Caribbean descendants of African slaves have both moral and legal rights to reparation for the injustices that were done during the slave trade.
Sir Hilary was at the time delivering the first of a series of lectures to commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the 1763 Berbice Slave Revolt as part of Republic celebrations,
The lecture titled, “Britain’s Black Debt: reparations owed the Caribbean for Slavery and Indigenous Genocide”, examined the damage done and wealth created through slavery over the years, particularly by Imperial Britain.
Beckles said Comparative studies have revealed that this was the only system of slavery in which persons were viewed legally as property and seen as non-humans.
Beckles said that Caricom has to come together to find a way to address this issue, one which will lead to peace, justice, reconciliation and future harmony.
Beckles said countries like the United States of America, Canada, Japan and New Zealand have set the precedent for reparation.
He explained that they all have put measures in place as part of their efforts to give reparation to indigenous peoples or war victims.