Emancipation Day 2013 Barbados - Reparations Demand
Emancipation Day 2013 Barbados. 1 August 2013, 11:27 am. Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley speaks on the issue of reparations at an Emancipation Day ceremony in Independence Square, Bridgetown. Earlier that same morning at the libation and flower laying ceremony held at the Bussa statue, another government official stated that Barbados and other Caribbean Community countries would seek to have all their nationals of African descent paid reparations compensation of US $20,000 each, starting with all adults over age 65. I have never supported the idea of seeking reparations because it seems very unrealistic to me that anyone will ever pay compensation to the millions of black people across the globe who are the descendants of Africans who were forced into slavery. But after attending today's Emancipation Day ceremonies, I can understand the legal argument which is being made... that one group of people benefited from the forced labour of others who were never compensated for their labour or their losses.
Culture Minister Says Reparations are Key Priority
Published on August 2, 2013 by Shamkoe Pilé
Emancipation Statue (FP)Emancipation Statue (FP)
Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, has declared that the issue of reparations must be confronted “in order to complete the circle of economic freedom and the quest for political and economic disenfranchisement”.
He made this assertion on Thursday, during the Emancipation Day cultural presentation and ceremony at Independence Square, The City, which concluded the inaugural From Emancipation to Independence Freedom Walk and Historic Tour.
Stating that reparations remained “an elusive quest for justice”, the Minister charged, “unless we engage in purposeful dialogue and discussion on the issue, it would never go away”.
Admitting that reparation was not a subject everyone was comfortable discussing, he insisted, “the way this ought to be addressed is a peaceful one; one based on dialogue, engagement [and] one that would have a focused and targeted agenda”.
The Culture Minister explained that within the Barbadian context, the Commission for Pan-African Affairs, the Task Force on Reparations, and the Government were on a mission to achieve compensation for the historic, economic, social and political wrongs that were inflicted on the island “by those who oppressed and suppressed our ancestors”.
He stressed: “Compensation for the drudgery of the slave trade and for enslavement remains a burning issue on the agenda.”
Moreover, he lauded the decision by CARICOM Heads of Governments to establish a Regional Task Force on Reparations - which is chaired by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart - and described the move as “one of the most important decisions, certainly within my time”.
“I know that it is a decision that would send strong signals not only to our respective communities across the globe, but one that would conjure up in our ancestors a sense of pride and dignity, that at the very highest level of CARICOM… our Heads of Governments have determined that the issue of reparations must be given a key priority,” he said.
Minister Lashley added that this decision was also historically gratifying, particularly for leaders of the Pan-African community in Barbados and abroad.
“You have walked a lonely road in my view… The Rastafari community in particular, has been championing the cause of black awareness within this country and beyond for many years… We have leaders in Barbados who have taken up the vanguard of Africanism and black identity,” he asserted.
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