by Kavon Fiennes
Fifteen Heads of Government of CARICOM member states are meeting in St. Vincent this week to sign a 10-point plan for reparation demands. These are the highlights of the Caribbean Reparation Committee’s requests of “European powers”, from the US Guardian, Sunday March 9th, 2014:
Among the demands made on European former slave trade nations are that they:
• provide diplomatic help to persuade countries such as Ghana and Ethiopia to offer citizenship to the children of people from the Caribbean who “return” to Africa. Some 30,000 have made such a journey to Africa and have been offered generous settlement packages, but lack of citizenship rights for their children is causing difficulties;
• devise a development strategy to help improve the lives of poor communities in the Caribbean still devastated by the after-effects of slavery;
• support cultural exchanges between the Caribbean and west Africa to help Caribbean people of African descent rebuild their sense of history and identity;
• back literacy drives designed to improve education levels that are still dire in many Caribbean communities;
• provide medical assistance to the region that is struggling from high levels of chronic diseases such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes that the Caricom reparations commission links to the fallout from slavery.
I am so ashamed of these shameless, illogical, irrational and inane demands of our regional politicians who have abdicated their responsibilities to we citizens, region-wide.
Our region’s intellectuals, experts and parliamentarians explain our woes to atrocities committed over 150 years ago, and subsequent colonialism. It is illogical to believe that some of these small island states’ (most with populations less than 200,000 inhabitants) lack of progress has more to do with slavery than bad governance.
Are widespread illiteracy, economic backwardness and medical ailments of diabetes and hypertension because of slavery? How stupid do these leaders think we are? Yet we praise our sprinting and athletic prowess on the survival of the fittest selection of the trans-Atlantic journey.
They are requesting that the children of those of us who choose to return to Africa (a whole continent) should get citizenship from Ghana and Ethiopia, with help from the EU acting as intermediaries? Really? What a crock of S#IT!
I can’t stomach the gall of guys like ‘Sir’ Hilary Beckles, Pro-Vice Chancellor of my alma mater, who knelt before the Queen for his knighthood, leading the pack on this nonsensical crusade. I am honestly ashamed to have him associated with the UWI.
I have already posed questions of our local committee on the topic of reparations. My colleagues Cato and Lipton have highlighted why we should not be wasting time on this win-less pursuit in their previous posts on Musings, the Case Against Reparations Parts 1 and Part 2 and Lost in Logic.
Who profiteth from all of this? Sir Hilary and his team and the London law firm who has taken up ‘our cause’. We will not see on red cent!
Kavon Fiennes is creator of the RightFromYaad blog. He is a 30-something year old ‘Black’, sometimes ‘Brown’, Jamaican. He is a former socialist, nationalist and Democrat, turned Libertarian and semi-conservative since his mid 20′s. He is losing his lingering left-wing views on the way society ought to treat the destitute and elderly.