African, Caribbean interests call for slavery reparations at Barbados meeting
UWI, the Economic, Social, and Cultural Council of the African Union (AU), Barbados’ government, Open Society Foundations, and the Caribbean Pan African Network joined forces to “call for reparations for historical crimes”.
The UWI called the Bridgetown summit “ground-breaking,” including strategy workshops and plenaries.
AU and CARICOM ambassadors attended.
“This is a historic moment… humanity cannot go forward with all the toxic interferences of colonisation,” CARICOM reparations committee head Hilary Beckles told a news conference on Thursday. “We have to clean up this mess to allow humanity to function.”
The CARICOM reparations commission, which sought reparations from former colonial powers like the UK, France, and Portugal, “sees the persistent racial victimisation of the descendants of slavery and genocide as the root cause of their suffering today” in its 10-point reparation plan.
The UWI release said the meeting proposed an AU-CARICOM collaboration roadmap.
“It is crucial to recognise how slavery, colonialism and racism intersect and impact the lives of Black people around the world,” said AU official Youssouf Mandoha.
European ships and traders kidnapped and sold 12.5 million Africans into slavery from the 15th through the 19th century. Survivors of the arduous voyage worked on farms in Brazil and the Caribbean, mostly in inhumane conditions, while some benefited.
Between 1627 and 1833, 600,000 Africans were slaves in Barbados and worked in sugar plantations, making English owners rich.