Chairman of CARICOM’s Reparations Commission (CRC), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles has dismissed suggestions that their motive was purely financial.
He told a Press conference this morning at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill that their aim was to get justice for the people of the region, whom, he said, continued to suffer harm.
“Uppermost in our mind is the search for healing and reconciliation. The concept of the apology is perhaps as important . . . . We have identified areas where we can see on a day-to-day basis everywhere in the Caribbean continuing harm and suffering. [These] issues are outlined in the ten-point plan, which has been accepted by [CARICOM] Head of Government. In many instance it would require financial support, it will require technological support, [it] will require diplomatic support.
“It is a rounded program that calls for the eradication of the legacies of harm and suffering associated with slavery. But I can tell you that, in the conversation with the Heads of Government, and of the Commission itself, that this notion of the reparatory programme as a strategy to extract wealth out of the western European nations absolutely incorrect,” he said.
Sir Hilary however added that the governments that had benefited from what he termed “these crimes against humanity” had a legal and moral responsibility to participate in developing a strategy for ending this harm.
“ . . . [In] much the same way, for example that at the end of the Second World War, a Marshall Plan was developed for Europe to rebuild Europe after the bombings and the carnage, this region, after 400 years of slavery, slave trading, genocide and racial apartheid, does in fact require support in the eradication of theses legacies,” he stressed.