General / Weekend News

Political will needed to move reparations movement forward in Belize

By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter

Support from the government of Belize is vital for Belize to move forward with seeking reparations for slavery from European nations, Myrna Manzanares cultural representative of the Kriol Council said this week.

Manzanares, one of the members of the Belize Commission Initiative for Justice and Reparations, explained that while many of the other Caribbean nations have already put forward their position on the issue, Belize is still behind.

“I’m not saying that we won’t take a position as a country, but we have not done so as yet,” she explained. “We can get out there and do everything but we need a signal from the government that says ‘we’re with you.”

She added that one of the main signals of commitment the commission wants is for GOB to assign a replacement for Ambassador Adalbert Tucker as the person who will oversee the country’s interest in reparations full time.

“Everyone on the committee volunteers their time. We need someone who can represent us at regional and international meetings, that has that government support,” she said.

Attorney General Wilfred Elrington, speaking on the issue, said that while many Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations have already adopted their position, Belize is not aggressively addressing the issue.

He added that one of the main reasons is that he believes many Belizeans do not understand the issue.

CARICOM nations were asked to have their government-sanctioned reparations committees in place by June 30 2014; to date Belize has still not complied.

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