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Caribbean groups urge Obama to exonerate Marcus Garvey

Friday, July 06, 2012 | 10:16 AM    

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WASHINGTON, USA (CMC) —Three Caribbean groups in the United States have launched a petition to President Barack Obama urging him to exonerate Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jamaica's first National Hero who was also a publisher, orator and entrepreneur, who built the largest organisation of black people in history.

His philosophy of Garveyism which called for global economic independence,  inspired movements for Pan-African and Caribbean independence, Black nationalism and civil rights.

The Marcus Garvey Celebrations Committee, the Institute of Caribbean Studies, and the Rootz Foundation have cited Jamaica's 50th independence anniversary and Garvey's 125th birthday in August as “key reasons for fashioning this collective campaign.

IN August last year the White House rejected a request for Garvey to be pardoned by Florida-based Jamaican-born attorney Donovan Parker.

Parker had been writing to president Obama every week since January 2011 requesting a posthumous pardon for Garvey, who many believe was set up by the J Edgar Hoover-led Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

Garvey is regarded as the forerunner of the American civil rights movement and is hailed as a prophet by Rastafarians.

White House Pardon Attorney, Ronald Rodgers said such a move would be a waste of time and resources since Garvey had been dead for ages.

"It is the general policy of the Department of Justice that requests for posthumous pardons for federal offences not be processed for adjudication. The policy is grounded in the belief that the time of the officials involved in the clemency process is better spent on pardon and commutation requests of living persons.

"Many posthumous pardon requests would likely be based on a claim of manifest injustice, and given that decades have passed since the event and the historical record would have to be scoured to objectively and comprehensively investigate such applications, it is the Department's position that the limited resources which are available to process requests for Presidential clemency — now being submitted in record numbers — are best dedicated to requests submitted by persons who can truly benefit from a grant of the request," Rodgers replied on behalf of Obama.

Related story:

No pardon for Garvey

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