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Letter: Time to inform Caribbean people
Published on May 27, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

The time has come for CARICOM governments to inform the people of the important event that will take place on 10th December – World Human Rights Day 2014. This is when the United Nations (UN) General Assembly is scheduled to formally designate a ‘Decade for People of African Descent’ commencing January 1, 2015 with the theme “People of African Descent: Recognition, Justice and Development”.

The Non State Actors Reparations Commission Inc. of Barbados is calling on our governments to inform Barbadians of the outstanding achievement of a designated decade for people of African descent. At present it would appear that there is no hope. News of such a decade would give people hope. We would like to be among the first to congratulate the organisations and individuals that have worked diligently for this achievement. In particular those persons from the Caribbean who took part in the historic UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa, in September 2001. This was undoubtedly the world’s third greatest impactful conference. The first was the conference of Nicea of 325AD from which Greco-Roman (European) Christianity was spread worldwide, the second was the 1884-5 Berlin Conference 50 years after slavery ended in the British colonies, at which European nations carved up Africa and shared it among themselves.

The consensus from the Durban conference was that the transatlantic trade in Africans, chattel enslavement and colonialism were all crimes against humanity and that reparations are due to victims and their descendants. At this conference the caste system of India was also placed on the agenda by the Caribbean delegation. Today we are witnessing the success from that historic conference. The prime minister elect of India (for the first time) is from the lower caste. It is believe that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new foreign policy is most likely to be based on the principle of “Vashudhaib Kutumbkan” meaning all the people in the world are relatives. This was the principle of Barbados’ delegation to the Durban conference. Both governmental and NGO must be credited for their contribution in forming a united position of Caribbean delegates on reparations during the conference.

Congratulations are also due to the coordinators of the first follow-up to the Durban conference; the Afrikan and Afrikan Descendants World Conference against Racism held in Barbados in October 2002. The outcome of this NGO conference; the Global Afrikan Congress contributed significantly in bringing the UN to the position of proclaiming the decade for African people.

The must laudable congratulation, however, is due to the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, which was established in 2002 after the Durban conference with a mandate to examine the conditions of people of African descent internationally, based on the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. In 2009 the group was successful in their recommendation that the year 2011 be proclaimed an ‘International Year for People of African Descent’. Following that success two further proposals were submitted for an “International Day” and a “Decade" for people of African descent.

The Non State Actors Reparations Commission (NsARC) Inc. of Barbados is a human rights and social justice coalition that started its public consultation for the decade in January 2013. Since then NsARC has been a lone voice in Barbados lobbying for this decade, which will be an important milestone in the history of African people. There have been noticeable significant developments since the UN World Conference in 2001: An African American (black skinned man) was elected president of the United States in 2008. In 2013 the first Jesuit and most unconventional pope in history was elected and in 2014 a citizen from the lower caste of India has been elected prime minister.


In view of these and other positive unprecedented changes taken place worldwide including the CARICOM governments establishment of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, the NsARC recommends that governments of the region bring their citizens up to date on the importance of the proclaimed decade thereby giving our people hope. This could be done by each state undertaking a national consultation on the ‘Decade for People of African Descent’ with reparations as a key component. In Barbados the consultation should take the form of that which took place in 1999 on racism, facilitated by the Commission for National Reconciliation and which produced the report entitled “A Shared Vision for the 21st Century”.

Barbados’ consultation could be facilitated by the Ministry of Culture’s Reparations Task Force in collaboration with the Commission for Pan-African Affairs. The principle of the ministry of culture taking lead could be used in each territory. During these consultations there should be a special one day workshop opened to all NGOs and civil society organisations to prepare strategic plans of action with programmes and projects to be submitted to the UN for financial consideration and support during the decade 2015 to 2024.

Such national consultations could take place during the period between February and October. These months are observed as Black History Months in the Caribbean and Europe respectively. The Pan-African Diaspora NGO movement is presently lobbying for this period to be designated as ‘African Heritage Season’ and is calling on CARICOM governments to support this endeavour.

Further information google Proclamation Decade for People of African Descent. In addition contact NsARC Tel: 265-8849 Email: – Website:

Rev. Buddy Larrier
Reads: 4474

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