UWI launches Center for Reparation Research
The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus in Jamaica officially launched a Center for Reparation Research on October 10.
The Center is geared towards supporting the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) reparatory justice movement, building awareness and conducting research that will advance the claim to Europeans for reparation for native genocide, African enslavement, deceptive indenture, colonialism and its legacies.
Establishment of the Center is a mandate of the 34th meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government held in July 2013.
The idea for the Center emerged out of the need to support the CARICOM/Global Reparatory Justice Movement and to collaborate with other Caribbean universities to establish the facility as a vehicle for research and public advocacy.
Support for the Center
Jamaica’s Minister of Culture Olivia Grange, and Minister of Transport and Mining, Mike Henry who both attended the launch, expressed their support for the Center.
Grange, under whose portfolio responsibility for the reparation agenda falls, congratulated the University on launching this initiative. She said the launch of the Center is fulfilling an obligation to “our ancestors and the people of the Caribbean.
“It is about rekindling old fires and igniting new ones as we take on the struggle to right the wrongs of the past, to return prosperity where there was oppression and destitution, to restore dignity and integrity where others brought shame and devaluation,” the Minister argued.
National Council on Reparation
“We [Government] established the National Council on Reparation in 2007, after a very rigorous debate in Parliament, based on a motion put forward by Mike Henry,” she added. The Minister said much has been achieved since then, and she is seeing signs that “we are not keeping this movement at the levels of just talk or even of our generation, but that we are keen to ensure that it moves on to the next generation.”
Minister Henry, who represented Prime Minister Andrew Holness, said he was pleased to witness the Center being opened, as the topic of reparation is one about which he is very passionate.
Vice-Chancellor, UWI and Chair, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Reparation Commission, Professor Hilary Beckles, said it is fitting for the launch to take place on October 10, as two days following the event, the world would recognize the 525th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Caribbean.