PJ Patterson urges relentlessness in fight for reparations
Noting a “strong resistance to confront the past”, former Prime Minister P J Patterson says advocates must be “relentless” in the fight against reparative justice and racism.
The head of the PJ Patterson Institute for Africa-Caribbean Public Advocacy at the University of the West Indies made the remarks while addressing the 10th anniversary Conference of the Pan African Enterprise Research Council Conference on Friday.
Patterson pointed out that “the research undertaken by the doyen of economic history of the Caribbean – Eric Williams – and followed in minute detail by Sir Hilary Beckles, and Professor Verene Shepherd, among other distinguished scholars, [has provided] the compelling evidence for the case of reparations.”
He said that while “Our demands can no longer be resisted with a stiff upper lip by the beneficiaries of slavery in England…we cannot ignore that the Government in the United Kingdom is still stubbornly refusing in admitting to the rape of Africa, and their benefits from the pernicious slave trade. They had to borrow money to pay their slave owners, but not a penny to those enslaved.”
Patterson pointed out that “In the United States, there is still a strong resistance to confront the past, even to the point of renouncing well documented history. Indeed, reparations have been reduced to “woke”.
“Instead, in Florida they are now trying to teach the glorious benefits of the most heinous crime against mankind. How despicable…” he exclaimed.
One of the Caribbean’s most senior statesmen, Patterson observed that “the research and documentation conducted by our historians have given us the information and the data that are incontrovertible and stand up to the test no differently to what Jews have been able to secure in compensation for Hitler’s anti-semitic holocaust.”
It is against this background that Patterson insists that “we must be relentless in advocacy for reparative justice and to fight racism and discrimination in order to obtain economic empowerment for people of colour everywhere.”
“The present inequitable and oppressive World Order was not designed by us or for us,” he lamented. “The 68 Countries of Africa and the Caribbean are no longer colonies. We are all sovereign nations who have the right and entitlement to speak for ourselves,” he declared.
Patterson told the Pan Africans, “We must insist on a brand new design for the United Nations and the multilateral agencies, [and demanded] that Africans and its descendants must become engaged and involved in the operations of an equitable and development oriented economic system.”
The PJ Patterson Institute for Africa-Caribbean Public Advocacy says it is against this background that the institution “seeks to assist governments, regional organisations, and international institutions as well as the private sector and civil society to understand and advance existing schemes of regionalism in Africa and the Caribbean.
The Institute also was set up to promote studies, exchanges intergovernmental and institutional groupings for the development of economic and human resources within the Continent, the Caribbean and the wider Diaspora.”