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CARICOM reparations commission identifies six key areas
Published on December 12, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Public health was one of the key issues identified by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Reparations Commission to receive reparatory diplomacy and action. This disclosure was made by chairman of the Reparations Commission, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, at a press conference on Tuesday following a meeting of the representatives from the Commission with law firm Leigh Day on Monday at the UWI Mona.

According to Beckles, “The African-descended population in the Caribbean today has the highest incidence in the world of chronic diseases such as hypertension and type two diabetes.”

He said it was the direct result of their nutritional exposure, endemic inhumane physical and emotional brutalization and other aspects of the stress experience of slavery and post slavery apartheid.

Education was the second of the six issues identified. The Commission chairman stated that at the end of the colonial period the British left the African-descended population in a state of general illiteracy. He noted that this illiteracy continued to plague Caribbean societies and accounted for significant parts of their development challenges.

Speaking to cultural institutions, Beckles said there was no development of institutions such as museums and research centres to prepare Caribbean citizens for an understanding of their history.

He also spoke of cultural deprivation as another issue that needed to be addressed and outlined that the primary cultural effect of slavery was to break and eradicate African commitment to their culture.

He stated further that African culture was criminalized and pointed to how Caribbean people were affected by cultural deprivation. He said this included low ethnic self-esteem; the devaluation of black identity; broken structures and diminished family values; delegitimisation of African derived religious and cultural practices, and disconnection from ancestral roots and culture.

Psychological trauma was another area identified by the Commission that needed to be addressed. According to Beckles, during the time of slavery, Africans were classified in law as non-human, chattel, property and real estate. He said they were denied recognition as members of the human family by laws and practices derived from the parliaments and policies of Europe. This history, he said, has inflicted massive psychological damage upon African descendants and is evident daily in social life.

The sixth issue which the Commission said needed to be remedied was that of scientific and technological backwardness. It was highlighted that for 400 years the policy of Britain and Europe had been that the Caribbean should not participate in any manufacturing or industrial process, and should be confined to the production of raw materials.

This policy, according to Beckles, “has rendered the Caribbean a technologically and scientifically ill-equipped civilization for which it continues to experience debilitating backwardness in a science and technology globalized world.”

Additionally, he said that the subjection of the Caribbean to this state has denied Caribbean youth membership and access to an enhancing science and technology culture that has become the world youth patrimony.

It was also explained by the Commission chairman that the argument that CARICOM should request reparatory dialogue with beneficiary slave-owning European states with a view to formulating a new development agenda for the Caribbean was reaffirmed.

The next meeting of the full commission will be in January 2014 and it is anticipated that its first interim report will be ready for submission to the CARICOM heads of government meeting in February 2014.
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Peter Binose:

Time this man was dumped, he talks and writes a whole lot of crap. Most of these statements are about selling his book and being paid as a circuit speaker.

Stop wasting our time and money on this man, who I personally consider a flake, that my honest belief.


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