CI Shorts: New Caribbean slavery reparations research centre launched
On 10 October, the University of the West Indies (UWI) formally launched a Centre for Reparations Research at UWI’s Mona, Jamaica campus.
Caribbean intelligence© rounds up the centre’s mission statements and the opening mandate from speakers:
- The centre came from a 2013 mandate from Caricom heads of government which also created a Caricom Reparations Commission (CRC), along with national committees for reparations in each member country.
- Caricom’s 10-point action plan includes a full formal apology for slavery, psychological rehabilitation and debt cancellation.
- The centre’s three strategic goals are to:
- promote research on the legacies of enslavement, colonialism and native genocide in the Caribbean and on how to bring justice and positive transformation to these legacies, with a particular focus on Caricom’s reparatory justice programme
- work with national and regional reparation commissions and committees to promote education at UWI and across Caribbean school systems on these legacies
- promote advocacy for reparatory and social justice by building a capacity to provide consultancies to Caricom and other relevant institutions, raise public awareness and support activism around the reparatory justice programme.
In a video link message to open the centre, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves described the case for reparations as “unanswerably strong”.
Dr Gonsalves requested a “practical road map”, providing legal and diplomatic needs for submission to the next Caricom leaders’ summit in 2018.
“We all know what we have to do, but political and administrative leadership on the matter must be focused,” Prime Minister Gonsalves said in his message. “This is a great cause and great causes have never been won by doubtful men and women.”
“It is not an easy one,” Dr Gonsalves said,” but we must be in it for the long haul if that is what it takes.”
The chairman of the Reparations Commission, Prof Sir Hilary Beckles, who is also UWI vice-chancellor, told the centre’s launch ceremony: “The people of the Caribbean...we move the history along.”
- Did you know that the reparations research centre has a jingle? Download Jingle
The Case for Caribbean Reparatory Justice by Dr Ralph Gonsalves (US edition)
Britain's Black Debt by Prof Sir Hilary Beckles (US edition)
Details of Caricom’s 10-point action plan
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves – video message to the opening
More from UWI on the new centre
Caricom reparations website