SAN JUAN – The Caribbean Community called for more youth involvement in the movement for reparations from Europe for slavery.
The statement marks the conclusion of the Second Conference of CARICOM Reparations Commission in Antigua and Barbuda.
During the conference, Jamaican Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hannah highlighted the need for greater youth intervention in reparatory justice.
Hannah noted that people between the ages of 16 and 24 make up a quarter of the world’s population and said they can play a key role in advancing the cause.
“The things that are a priority to them (the youth) now are career advancement, career development, and certainly employment and so to get reparations on their agenda is something that this group is going to have to recognize. Unless you get the youth carrying your message, it’s not going to be carried,” Hannah said.
The conference chair, Hilary Beckles, said the Reparations Commission is now re-energized and will aim to include the Caribbean diaspora in the claims.
“We are going to organize, with the support of all of the national commissions, a regional rally in which we will move the reparations banner from the northern Caribbean, through to the center, to the south, all the way through to Brazil,” said Beckles.
He said that early next year he foresees the establishment of an American Commission in New York, largely due to the large Caribbean and African community living there and he also anticipates the establishment of a national commission in Brazil.
“We are going to build a global network of commissions. This is where we’re going because slavery and the slave trade were global crimes and the only way this is going to be effectively addressed in terms of reparatory action is on a global scale,” he added.
During the conference, CARICOM member states discussed the 10-point plan that outlines a structure on reparations that includes asking former colonial powers for an official apology and debt forgiveness, among other demands.