Special Envoy on Reparations and Economic Enfranchisement Trevor Prescod is adding his voice to the public protests which have been ongoing in England, asking British MP Sir Richard Drax to surrender Drax Hall Plantation to the people of Barbados.
Prescod believes now is the time to educate persons on who Sir Richard Drax is and the history of the plantation that he has inherited.
“I was thinking about it over the past few days that we need to sensitise and educate Barbadians to this Drax affair. Because Mr. Richard Drax is the richest parliamentarian in the House of Commons in England – he represents the constituency of South Dorset.
He is the owner through succession rights of the Drax Hall Plantation in St George which is over 621 acres of land. His family owns the Drax Hall Plantation which is the oldest plantation from the 17th Century until now that remains in the hand of the same family who owned the plantation,” he said.
Prescod who is the representative for St Michael East said that he believed now was the opportune time for Barbados to request that Sir Richard Drax do right to the people of Barbados and give the estate back to Barbados.
“I do not know how Mr. Drax could even think that he can escape from some form of reparations but if he is not saying sorry for the criminal act, you would know what kind of battle, we have to put on with Mr. Drax because this man is standing proud in the House of Commons knowing the truth and denying the truth and that goes for a lot of British leaders too. And for me it extends itself to the Queen of England as well as her family especially with the Belle Plantation in St Michael,” he said.
The former Minister of The Environment and National Beautification said now was the time for Barbados to rid itself of their colonial systems.
“This form of education is not known to many Bajan people; we have to rid ourselves of a lot of these colonial systems. We have to seek compensation for the harm that was done to us, it is that harm that was done to us that helped to under-develop the Caribbean and Africa itself.
Our people suffered a lot as a result of improper nourishment during the period of slavery and some of the major diseases that we have had to go through today derive from malnutrition and all types of challenges that we faced as a people. Some of the diseases that we face apart from the foods and so on were diseases that came because of the interaction between African people and the Europeans,” he said.
As it pertains to Sir Richard Drax, Prescod said that he wonders how someone with Drax’s colonial past could become a parliamentary representative.
“So, I do not know, how without any malice, how any person that finds himself being a beneficiary of all of those criminal acts can feel comfortable being a parliamentary representative in any house in the world representing the people of any constituency and worse of all an entire sovereignty,” he said.
Back in September protesters in Dorset had a virtual protest in which they stated that Sir Richard Drax should be made to give back Barbados the property he owns in the island.
During a virtual workshop entitled Reparations in the 21st Century, Slavery, Colonialism and The Meaning of Reparations, chairman of the Caribbean Reparations Committee, Sir Hilary Beckles, also argued that
countries such as England should give their former colonised states reparations.
Sir Hilary Beckles
“From as early as the 17th Century, there was a powerful movement in England against slavery, where people called on local sheriffs and mayors to stop it by sending petitions to the Royal Family and the Government, but these were brushed aside as those in authority convinced them that it was in the country’s best economic interest.
“It took us between 300 and 400 years of struggle to end this evil and when the emancipation legislation was passed, it was because they realised it was going to be a great war unless they brought an end to that system. But after emancipation, the struggle went on because it took us all of the 20th Century to convert emancipation into human and civil rights, the right to vote, democracy and independence, but even so, Great Britain, France and the Netherlands still have colonies in the Caribbean.
“However, the 21st Century must be the century where we call for justice against slavery and reparations. There must be a compensatory approach to assist these people who are still living in mass poverty, illiteracy, poor public health, and whose development is being blocked because of the legacy of slavery,” he said. (PR)