Caricom gets support on reparation initiatives

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (CMC) — The decision by the Caribbean Community (Caricom) governments to seek reparations for descendants of African slaves in the region has received a "thumbs up" from Suriname's Diaspora in The Netherlands.

Chairperson of the National Platform Slavery Past (LPS) here, Barryl Biekman, called the decision to establish a Caricom Reparations Commission "a historical accomplishment" and sent a congratulatory letter to the Suriname local committee.

At their summit in Trinidad and Tobago in July, Caricom leaders agreed to the formation of the commission that will be chaired by Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and include St Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

The regional countries have also engaged the services of a prominent British human rights law firm to assist in the matter.

Biekman said the appointment of economist Armand Zunder to the lead the National Reparations Committee in Suriname was a "logical choice, seeing Zunder's previous achievements regarding the reparations issue".

Zunder brought the issue to the forefront in June when he submitted a petition to the Dutch ambassador demanding reparations to descendants of the Africans enslaved murdered by Europeans in Suriname during the colonial era.

The economist said the Netherlands earned an estimated Euro125 billion (One Euro =US$1.29 cents) as a result of the slave trade in Suriname.

Biekman called on the National Reparations Committee to share its plans with the Diaspora, noting that there were many organizations, networks and individuals here engaged in the reparation movement.

"After all, Suriname's Government has a Diaspora policy that aims to involve the Diaspora in the country's development," she added.

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