CARICOM Reparations Ten Point Plan: Part II
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill
Dr. Conrad Worrill, Director/Professor, Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies (CCICS) located at 700 East Oakwood Blvd, Chicago, Illinois, 60653, 773-268-7500, Fax: 773-268-3835
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web site: www.ccics-chicago.org, Twitter: @CCICS_Chicago
On April 19, 2014 at Chicago State University, the Institute of the Black World 21st Century, in conjunction with the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, sponsored a “National/International Forum on Revitalizing the Reparations Movement.”
Due to a head of state conflict, the Honorable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves was unable to attend as previously announced, but he sent as his representative Dr. Hilary Beckles. Dr. Beckles is one of the region’s most distinguished academics who gave a riveting report on the recent work of CARICOM’s Reparation Commission. Beckles reported that the CARICOM member states were calling for reparations “as in compensation for the crimes of slavery and indigenous genocide at the hands of former European colonizers.”
The Honorable John Conyers, Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus and sponsor of the HR-40 Reparations Study Bill and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam also participated and spoke in support of the work of CARICOM.
Other participants were Dr. Ron Daniels, President of the Institute of e Black World; Dr. Conrad Worrill, Director, Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies of Northeastern Illinois University; Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference; JoAnn Watson, former member of the Detroit City Council; Don Rojos, Director of Communications, Institute of the Black World; Illinois State Senator Donne Trotter, and Judge Lionel Baptiste who served as moderator of the forum.
The following are the concluding points of the CARICOM Ten-Point Plan:
6. ILLITERACY ERADICATION: At the end of the European colonial period in most parts of the Caribbean, the British in particular left the black and indigenous communities in a general state of illiteracy. Some 70percent of blacks in British colonies were functionally illiterate in the 1960s when nation states began to appear.
Jamaica, the largest such community, was home to the largest number of such citizens. Widespread illiteracy has subverted the development efforts of these nation states and represents a drag upon social and economic advancement.
Caribbean governments allocate more than 70 percent of public expenditure to health and education in an effort to uproot the legacies of slavery and colonization. European governments have a responsibility to participate in this effort within the context of the CRJP [CARICOM Reparations Justice Program].
7. AFRICAN KNOWLEDGE PROGRAM: The forced separation of Africans from their homeland has resulted in cultural and social alienation from identity and existential belonging. Denied the right in law to life, and divorced by space from the source of historic self, Africans have craved the right to return and knowledge of the route to roots.
A program of action is required to build ‘bridges of belonging.’ Such projects as school exchanges and culture tours, community artistic and performance programs, entrepreneurial and religious engagements, as well as political interaction, are required in order to neutralize the void created by slave voyages.
Such actions will serve to build knowledge networks that are necessary for community rehabilitation.
8. PSYCHOLOGICAL REHABILITATION: For over 400 years Africans and their descendants were classified in law as non-human, chattel, property, and real estate. They were denied recognition as members of t4he human family by laws derived from the parliaments and palaces of Europe.
This history has inflicted massive psychological trauma upon African descendant populations. This much is evident daily in the Caribbean.
Only a reparatory justice approach to truth and educational exposure can begin the process of healing and repair. Such an engagement will call into being, for example, the need for greater Caribbean integration designed to enable the coming together of the fragmented community.
9. TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER: For 400 years the trade and production policies of Europe could be summed up in the British slogan: “not a nail is to be made in the colonies.”
The Caribbean was denied participation in Europe's industrialization process, and was confined to the role of producer and exporter of raw materials. This system was designed to extract maximum value from the region and to enable maximum wealth accumulation in Europe.
The effectiveness of this policy meant that the Caribbean entered its nation building phase as a technologically and scientifically ill-equipped—backward space within the postmodern world economy.
Generations of Caribbean youth, as a consequence, have been denied membership and access to the science and technology culture that is the world’s youth patrimony. Technology transfer and science sharing for development must be a part of the CRJP.
10. DEBT CANCELLATION: Caribbean governments that emerged from slavery and colonialism have inherited the massive crisis of community poverty and institutional unpreparedness for development. These governments still daily engage in the business of cleaning up the colonial mess in order to prepare for development.
The pressure of development has driven governments to carry the burden of public employment and social policies designed to confront colonial legacies. This process has resulted in states accumulating unsustainable levels of public debt that now constitute their fiscal entrapment.
This debt cycle properly belongs to the imperial governments who have made no sustained attempt to deal with debilitating colonial legacies. Support for the payment of domestic debt and cancellation of international debt are necessary reparatory actions.
This International Reparations Forum was a grand success and will aid in the continuing organizing of African people throughout the world in our just demand for Reparations.