Reparations for slavery? Wishing and hoping…

Mark Wignall

Sunday, July 28, 2013    

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THE news that 14 countries making up CARICOM are about to launch a formal, concerted effort to lay out claims of reparations for slavery from Britain, France and the Netherlands immediately suggested to me that many of the leaders in our neck of the woods are either too taken up with pining for a lost love, or they simply want to invoke the thought processes of the academic theorists among them who are not solid pragmatists.

According to Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, CARICOM wants to pursue 'honest, sober and robust conversation' with the three European countries about the legacy of slavery and the genocide of native people.

In other words, where previous local discussions about reparations have tended to focus on the fact of that first African kidnapped from the West Coast of Africa hundreds of years ago and what later followed, this new dispensation will bring into the conversation the plight of the Tainos, another bit of foolish romanticism.

In principle it is difficult to...

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