Prime Minister Andrew Holness is encouraging greater unification for reparations.
Speaking this morning (May 25, 2021) at the Africa Day Webinar, the Prime Minister said, “Africans and people of African descent must work together to demand reparations from colonial powers for the damage caused to our people, who endured over four hundred years of enslavement with continuance in post-slavery governance and economic arrangements. Our engagement with not only countries, but institutions which benefitted from the brutal system of enslavement must also be to that end, and we will provide mechanisms for reparations to be made and paid”.
In that regard, Prime Minister Holness acknowledged the collaborative work for reparation done by the National Council on Reparation in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and, the P.J Patterson Centre for Africa Caribbean Advocacy, the Institute for Global African Affairs in Johannesburg, and other institutions established by the University of the West Indies in Continental Africa.
The Prime Minister also noted that while it is important to understand and repair the past, Africans, and people of African descent, in the quest for justice, should also focus on eradicating the inequities which have caused persistent poverty and disenfranchisement.
“These inequities have been magnified by the pandemic, in which the people of African descent have suffered disproportionately, both in health and economic terms. Our people are also disproportionately affected by climate change, and in the global space, do not enjoy equitable access to education, justice, and equal treatment,” said Prime Minister Holness.
In this regard, the Prime Minister contended that the imperative is for Africans and people of African descent to harness their wealth and resources to re-balance existing international and economic structures to increase their development.
According to Prime Minister Holness “We must strive to overcome systemic and institutional prejudices, inequitable health care and education, and all other residues of enslavement and colonialism, that have undermined our progress and prosperity.”
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness underscored that with a shared history, culture, and sense of a common identity, African-Caribbean relations can be a political, social, and economic force that can transform the lives of all our people.