“We did not stumble into the present, and are not stumbling into our future,” said Prof. Hillary Beckles to the CARICOM and African Union (AU) representatives at one session of the “Reparations and Racial Healing Study Tour” in Barbados.
The CARICOM-AU conference brought together perspectives from government and civil society leaders and Reparations advocates from the Caribbean, Africa, and African Diaspora communities on developing a unified front on Reparations from historical crimes. Prof. Beckles, a global voice of the Reparations movement for the Caribbean, is the vice-chancellor of The University of the West Indies (UWI) and chair of the CARICOM Reparations Commission.
One St. Martin, (One SXM), was invited to speak at what UWI media called “the ground-breaking” tour. The association was represented in Bridgetown by its president, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell.
“The One St. Martin presentation in Barbados highlighted our weekly MY 88.3 FM radio information program; and our organized activities related to colonialism, Reparations, and the response to the apology by the Netherlands’ Prime Minister and King for the Dutch involvement in Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which they acknowledged as a crime against humanity,” said Dr. Arrindell.
In One SXM’s estimate, Dr. Arrindell pointed out that “the Dutch apology is incomplete as it does not contain a commitment to non-repetition, eradication of colonialism by the Dutch kingdom, or Reparations and other forms of reparatory justice.”
“It was also stated on behalf of One SXM that discussions about Reparations and reparative justice must include discussions of independence for St. Martin and decolonization of the Caribbean region,” said Dr. Arrindell.
The tour presented several legal perspectives and sought to identify modalities for Reparations, engage more ways to shift the narrative on Reparations, and elevate marginalized voices,” said Dr. Arrindell, a leading St. Martin educator and author of Language, Culture, and Identity in St. Martin.
The study tour speakers and participants—in addition to judges, jurists, diplomats, and academics—included Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade for the Republic of Barbados, Kerrie Symonds; Sen. Dr. Shantal Munro-Knight, Minister of State; and H.E. Youssouf Mondoha Assoumani, Permanent Representative of the Union of Comoros to the African Union and Chair of the Permanent Representatives Committee of the African Union.
“As the One SXM representative, I had the privilege to meet the Rt. Honorable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of the Republic of Barbados and the Vice President of Colombia Francia Marquez,” said Dr. Arrindell.
Prime Minister Mottley hosted two evenings of reception for the delegates to the “Reparations and Racial Healing Study Tour” at the Residence of the Prime Minister and the Commemoration of National Day of Significance at Golden Square Freedom Park. Barbados observes the Season of Emancipation from April 14 to late August, said Dr. Arrindell