CASTRIES, St Lucia -- Saint Lucia and other CARICOM member-states have started compiling the region’s legal case for reparations from Britain for slavery and native genocide, with each country to make its own national case as part of a common Caribbean case.
The Saint Lucia National Reparations Committee (NRC) has been tasked, along with other similar entities in eight CARICOM member-states, to start the research and compilation process to gather the relevant information necessary for the government to make Saint Lucia’s case.
Mandating national committees to start the process of making the case was one of several decisions taken at the second meeting of the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC), held in Barbados on January 27 and 28 at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
The meeting also adopted a regional strategic and operational plan to guide the work of the reparations movement at the regional and national levels and in its interface with Africa and Europe, as well as the Caribbean and African Diaspora.
The meeting was attended by delegations representing NRCs from Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
The CRC’s second meeting was chaired by principal of the UWI’s Cave Hill campus, Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, the CRC’s chairman. It was also attended by a delegation from CARICOM led by program officer Dr Hilary Brown. The British-based law firm Leigh and Day was also represented.
The Barbados CRC meeting examined, among other things: the role and function of the national committees, governance of the regional commission, data requirements for the legal case, research and translation, mobilization and public education, intergovernmental relations, media strategy, preparation of a regional strategic and operational plan and financing of the regional commission and the national committees.
Each delegation was led by the chairperson of the National Committee, who reported on the status of establishment of NRCs.
Issues relating to the governance of the regional commission and the national committees were discussed, with inputs from all eight delegations.
The Barbados meeting also received a delegation representing local and regional Rastafari organizations, which presented to the CRC a position paper outlining the input of the Caribbean Rastafari movement in the reparations dialogue.
The Saint Lucia NRC was represented by chairman Earl Bousquet and Dr June Soomer, Saint Lucia’s Ambassador to CARICOM and the OECS, who also represented the island at the first CRC meeting in Jamaica.
Meanwhile, the Saint Lucia NRC will meet this weekend in Vieux Fort to plan its official launching.