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CARICOM member states prepare for second phase of reparation talks

CARICOM member states prepare for second phase of reparation talks

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With the dialogue on reparations having already begun, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has outlined how he would like to see the next phase of the process take place.{{more}}

Speaking on the second day of the three-day event on Monday, Gonsalves said that he wants to begin doing the work by having governments representing CARICOM member states prepare letters to be sent to France, on behalf of countries such as Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique and St Lucia; Holland for Suriname and Britain for the rest of the English speaking Caribbean.

“So that we begin to engage first, in the discussion, in the dialogue, in the conversation and if that conversation does not look as if it is taking us anywhere, we then go to the various international tribunals,” the Prime Minister said.

He further explained that one of the primary objectives coming out of the conference was for each of the national commissions to immediately begin to go to work with the state.

And according to Gonsalves, it also means that regional governments would have to include in their budgets resources to facilitate getting the work done.

“This is not going to be done by words or by making declarations,” Gonsalves said.

He continued saying that he thought that there were enough treaties, agreements and pronouncements grounded in international law through which approaches could be made to particular tribunals, one being the International Court of Justice, in relation to the legacy of native genocide and slavery.

“But to do so, we have to have the information based through our research.”

There is enough research and people capable of conducting and putting together the research that will be needed, however, Gonsalves said.

“There are people who think that there is not a road map for this; there is a road map and we have intellectual power that we can call on,” he continued.

In relation to time, the Prime Minister said that there needed to be a minimum number of regional heads to move, so even if they all did not move to take action at the same time, others can join on.

“So, we don’t move at the pace of the slowest – if that is so, it means that we fail and we can’t fail,” Gonsalves said.

But he said that he is confident that the process will not fail and that he had confidence in his fellow heads of governments from across the region. (DD)

(See the full text of the Prime Minister’s speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Reparations Conference at www.Facebook.com/Searchlight1).

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