Categorized | National News

Govt Forms Reparation Committee

The government has established The Bahamas National Reparations Committee and its members were revealed yesterday.

The committee will be responsible for preparing a legal claim to present to the International Court of Justice (ICOJ) for reparations for the infliction of slavery on Caribbean colonies by certain former European colonisers.

The committee will also be responsible for an educational campaign and invoking dialogue on the issue which Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell said is in the best interest of the country.

“The government thinks that this is in the best interest of the country to have research done,” he said during a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Goodman’s Bay Corporate Centre. “What often happens with these things is as [they] unfold people will tend to accept that it is the right thing to do.”

“As I tried to indicate in as gentle way as I can, those of us who came up in the 60s and 70s are astounded at how polite a society we have become on this subject which still resonates throughout all of the things that we do.”

Reparations is the process of repairing the consequences of crimes committed and the attempt to reasonably remove debilitating effects of such crimes upon victims and their descendants.

National Reparation Committees have been established on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

In preparation for a legal claim, each National Reparation Commission is to gather information pertaining to each claimant state; illustrate the link between historic discrimination and present day racial discrimination; outline modern racial discrimination resulting from slavery in areas of health.

In addition, illustrate the link between, socio-economic deprivation and social disadvantage, education, living conditions, property and land ownership, employment participation in public life and migration and identity policies of the United Kingdom, which have perpetuated the discriminatory effects of slavery in The Bahamas.

Minster Mitchell said the committee is expected to have a legal claim developed by this June.

Recently, CARICOM leaders unanimously adopted a 10-point plan for reparations during the first day of heads of government meetings in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The 10-point plan includes calling for a formal apology for slavery and debt cancellation from former colonisers such as Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands and reparation payments to repair the persisting “psychological trauma.”

Former parliamentarians, Alfred Sears and Philip Smith serve as chair and co-chair of the committee.

Additionally, there are 22 committee members who include, Dr. Chris Curry, Dr. Gail Saunders, Fr. Dacid Cooper, Rev. Williams Higgs, Ms. Marion Bethel, Rev. Timothy Stewart, Ms. Keisha Ellis, Mr. Pedro Rolle, Ms. Theresa Moxey-Ingraham, Dr. Niambi Hall-Campbell, Mr. Michael Symonette, Mr. Michael Stevenson, Ms. Elaine Toote, Ms. Kim Outten-Stubbs, Dr. Tracy Thompson, Mr. Whitman McKinney, Mr. Elsworth Johnson,
Mr. Bianca Beneby, Ms. Alesha Hart, Mr. Travis Cartwright, Mr. Cecil Thompson and an attorney from the Office of the Attorney General.

According to Minister Mitchell, the members were chosen because of their broad expertise and their representation of the Bahamian Society.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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