St Jago wins reparations debate

Career & Education

St Jago wins reparations debate

Sunday, November 04, 2018

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Retroactive reparatory justice from Europeans for African enslavement is entirely possible.

That was the moot St Jago High School successfully argued on Thursday last to win the debate competition launched by the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank (ACIJ/JMB), in collaboration with the National Council on Reparation (NCR), under the theme 'From Enslavement to Reparation'.

The team of Ronaldo Richards, Alanah Jackson and Damario Patterson argued that slavery is a crime against humanity with no statute of limitation on seeking justice, and reiterated, “They stole us, they sold us and now, they owe us”. Richards took the award for best speaker.

In response, the Ardenne High School team of Adelia Nemhard, Saevion McFadden and Peter-John Thompson argued that with the current economic and general societal environment, as well as insufficient legal standing, getting reparations was not entirely possible. They argued further that the points outlined in the CARICOM ten-point plan for reparatory justice, while to some extent may be possible, was not entirely so.

Ardenne placed second.

The competition, which is part of a year-long series of activities on reparation, engaged nine schools — St Jago High, Meadowbrook High, St Hugh's High, Jamaica College, Titchfield High, Gaynstead High, Wolmer's Boys', Ardenne High, and St Andrew Technical.

The matches kicked off on Tuesday, October 2 at the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ) with St Jago and Meadowbrook debating the moot, “Be it resolved that reparation to descendants of enslavement in the anglophone Caribbean would reopen old wounds and destabilise relations between blacks and whites”. St Jago emerged winners of that match and came through successive rounds of the competition to participate in the finals against Ardenne.

The St Jago coach, Jason McIntosh, conceded that the Ardenne team had strong arguments and a good presentation.

Dr Amina Blackwood-Meeks, acting as chief adjudicator, commended the students and teachers for spending the time researching the topic to the extent that they did considering their regular academic obligations.

The NCR, whose co-chairs Professor Verene Shepherd and Steven Golding were both present at the finals, facilitated much of the research, the teams said.

— Kesi Asher

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