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Beckles: It’s our responsibility to bring closure to reparations issue

Beckles: It’s our responsibility to bring closure to reparations issue

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The Caribbean has forged ahead regarding the discussion on reparations.{{more}}

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, in his keynote address at the second day’s session of the three-day reparations conference yesterday, said that while similar conversations on reparations were taking place all over the world, the region had taken the lead.

“We are now providing the world with that leadership – all over the world they are watching the Caribbean because we are providing the leadership and it is appropriate that we provide the leadership,” Beckles said.

It is important that the region provide this leadership, he explained, because it is here that the crime took place.

“It was here that [Christopher] Columbus came and placed a regime which all the Europeans adopted to come into the continent, commit genocide against the people, enslave the people and created a human catastrophe.”

“So therefore, it is our responsibility as the owners of the site of the crime to bring closure to this matter,” Professor Beckles said.

Yesterday’s morning session also included a panel discussion with representatives of established national reparations committees from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Jamaica, Suriname and St Vincent and the Grenadines. During the afternoon, there were presentations from overseas conference attendees, including persons from the USA, the Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica.

At today’s morning session, which is closed to members of the general public, lawyers of the United Kingdom law firm Leigh Day & Co. will make a presentation of the legal mechanisms for redress for slavery. After lunch, there will be a discussion of the proposed aims and objectives of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, a declaration of the composition and election of the chairperson of the CARICOM Reparations Commission and a decision on the placement of the Secretariat of the Commission.

At the final session, which begins at 5 p.m., there will be a screening of a movie on Dr Walter Rodney (W.A.R stories) and a book signing by author and director Clairmont Chung. (See more pictures from the conference at www.facebook.com/searchlight1)(DD)

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