CARICOM member states call for reparation; Belize is slow to act

The Government of Belize has finally decided to form a reparations committee.

The decision, which was reportedly made at last Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, comes more than a month after July’s Caribbean Communities (CARICOM)’s 34th Heads of Government Meeting.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told Reporter that Adalbert Tucker, a former non-resident ambassador to Africa, has been recommended to head  the Belize National Reparation Committee.

Tucker, however, told this newspaper paper that he was yet to be contacted regarding that decision.

At the CARICOM meeting, those present unanimously agreed to seek reparation from the former colonial powers for slavery and native genocide.

It was agreed that each member state would establish a National Reparation Committee, because CARICOM members have come to view the need for reparations as key to economic development.

At the close of the meetings, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Balwin Spencer remarked:  “We know that our constant search and struggle for development resources is linked directly to the historical inability of our nations to accumulate wealth from the efforts of our peoples during slavery and colonialism.”

Spencer said that these nations, which had been the major producers of wealth for the European slave-owning economies during colonial periods, “entered Independence with dependency straddling their economic, cultural, social and even political lives.”

Spencer added that the reparation issue should be approached from a bi-partisan standpoint.

He explained that political leader emphasize the need for reparation agencies to continue enhance the awareness of the reparations issue.

“It is important that there is solid people and multi-party support for our efforts and we must impress on our colleagues in both Government and Opposition that this is not an issue we should use as party-politics fodder.

“Our various reparation organizations must see the forging of bi-partisan political support and civil society consensus for reparations as one of their main objectives,” he said.

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