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PM Gonsalves says he will keep pressing forward with issue of reparation at UN

PM Gonsalves says he will keep pressing forward with issue of reparation at UN


Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says he is determined to carry forward a programme to right the historical wrongs committed against the indigenous people of this country and the Africans whom Europeans brought here as slaves.{{more}}

Gonsalves, speaking at a press conference last week, said that he intends to carry forward the programme across the rest of the region, Latin America and Africa.

“This is not an anti-European position; I am not seeking any confrontation with Europe; I am seeking reparation — a repairing and that repairing involves reconciliation,” the Prime Minister said.

But in reconciling and repairing, Gonsalves explained that the point needed to be made with clarity and, if necessary, robustly and that it would require using all avenues available within the framework of the international, domestic law in the United Kingdom, political and diplomatic channels, to advance the cause for reparation.

“The struggle will not be easy; the road is rough,” Gonsalves said.

He said that he had already written and spoken to CARICOM’s Secretary General Irwin LaRocque about having the matter included on the agenda for the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in July.

The Prime Minister said he had already spoken to some of the leaders across the region and he anticipates that a CARICOM-wide reparations commission be set up to complement the work being done in each territory.

Gonsalves said he intends to raise the issue at the Commonwealth level and that he spoke about reparations at the Petro Caribe Heads of Government meeting in Venezuela recently. He said he would raise the issue at the next meeting of the Community of Latin America and Caribean States (CELAC).

He also said it was his intention to keep pressing forward with the issue at the United Nations (UN).

In his presentation, Gonsalves said that he was hoping that in the same way the Anglican Church made a statement regarding same-sex marriage, that they, along with the rest of the Christian community, would make a statement on reparation.

There are some people more concerned about jobs or the economy, he said.

“Well, those things are legacies not solely on that, but they are directly connected to… So, for somebody to tell me that they can separate them, they don’t have a true understanding of this phenomenon and if you say you have an understanding and you separating them means you don’t have an understanding,” the Prime Minister said. (DD)