Politics

Barbados Tells Former European Slavemaster Countries: Reparations Now


Barbados has continued to issue a clarion call for reparations now from former slavemaster Europe.

The island nation’s Prime Minister Mia Mottley gave a speech on March 6 in Cape Coast, Ghana, as the guest of honor at Ghana’s 65th Celebration of Independence. During the speech, Mottley reiterated her stance that reparations are necessary to help repair the damage inflicted throughout history by Europe on Barbados and other Caribbean countries.

“The heads of government of the Caribbean community have assigned me the responsibility of writing to the heads of government of those European states whose governments were responsible for the extraction of wealth from our countries for centuries and who extracted wealth, I dare say, from your continent and countries too,” Mottley told the crowd.

Barbados was occupied by the British in 1627 and remained a British colony until internal autonomy was granted in 1961. The Island gained full independence in 1966.

“There are those who will say and remind us that the specter of war makes it an inconvenient time to have this conversation but may I say, it is never the wrong time to do the right thing,” Mottley continued. “And I therefore hope that we shall have the support of Africa in these difficult and complex conversations that regrettably have led to the extraction of wealth for centuries from our nations in the Americas.”

Mottley, who made history as the first woman to serve as Barbados attorney general and deputy prime minister, has long been an outspoken advocate of reparations for her country.

“I believe that we shall be that humanizing force that the world needs now more than ever in these great times of peril in which we live,” Mottley added. “That we will know what we must do to bring justice in the fight against climate change and we will know what we must do bring reparations to those people who have lost.”

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She also publicly called for a “Caribbean Marshall Plan” in July 2021 during a virtual meeting with the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC), according to a news release. CARICOM is the Caribbean Community, an intergovernmental organization of 15 member states throughout the Caribbean whose main objective is to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members. 

“The combination of the appropriateness of the reparations argument, as well as the reality of the economic implosion that has taken place as a result of the global pandemic, requires urgent conversations to begin to understand that a world that was rooted in immorality or a world that was rooted in people profiting from crimes against humanity runs counter to the very things at the democratic level that we have asked both small states and large states to be able to reflect,” Mottley said.

“For us, reparations is not just simply about money, but it is also about justice. I do not know how we can go further unless there is a reckoning first and foremost that places an apology and an acknowledgment that a wrong was done,” Mottley stated. “And that successive centuries saw the extraction of wealth and the destruction of people that must never happen to any society, to any race in any part of this world again. And for that to happen you have to first acknowledge your wrong.”

See Mottley’s full speech below:

PHOTO: Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley greets Britain’s Prince Charles ahead of their bilateral meeting during the COP26 summit , Glasgow, Nov. 1, 2021. (Jane Barlow/Pool Photo via AP)



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