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President Ali did well in representing Guyana and bringing much needed attention to the issue of reparations with the aid of his ignorant host of a British morning television show where the president appeared as a guest earlier this week.
The work done by Mr Eric Phillips and the Guyana’s reparations committee over the many years got the much needed attention by the president of Guyana on an international scale.
The comments made by the male host on the show have sparked a massive controversy and exposed deeply rooted problem that persists in our society. The comments were in response to the views articulated rightfully so by the President of Guyana, who supported the view that former colonizers should pay reparations for slavery on which their countries were built and developed.
The host’s grotesque comments were not only disrespectful to the President of Guyana who butt rest his position with sold fact, but also exposed his complete lack of understanding of the sensitive issue of reparative justice and its profound historical continuum and relevance to the present-day world.
The host’s comments were dismissive of the notion of reparative justice being a justifiable demand and implied that black people should in fact be grateful for the unwitting benefits that historical injustices accrued to them.
Such comments are not only offensive and repugnant in every sense, but also reveal a deep-seated ignorance of the historical legacies of slavery and the enduring impacts that it continues to have in contemporary times. His attitude is a reflection of the remnants of colonial and imperial arrogance of superiority over people of colour that we all must reject resolutely.
Additionally, it is essential to note that the issue of reparations is not just a matter of financial restitution but also a crucial symbolic act of acknowledging and making just recompense for the most egregious wrongs that have ever been recorded against human beings of this world.
The demand for reparations has been a longstanding issue in the post-colonial world, particularly in the Caribbean and Africa. In the Caribbean, the issue of reparations has been at the forefront of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) agenda. In 2013, CARICOM launched a ten-point plan for reparations that sought to address the legacies of slavery and colonialism in the Caribbean.
The CARICOM plan argues that the legacies of slavery and colonialism are still evident in the socio economic conditions of Caribbean nations. It is important to note that slavery was not just about forced labor, but it also involved the systematic destruction of African culture, customs, religion, music, art, their identity, and the separation of families.
The CARICOM plan notes that the slave trade led to the displacement of millions of Africans from their homes, and their forced migration created a vast African diaspora that continues to experience the negative consequences of slavery.
The CARICOM plan goes on to argue that the legacies of slavery and colonialism are evident in the ongoing socioeconomic disparities that exist in the Caribbean.
These disparities are particularly evident in areas such as education, health, economics, and poverty. The plan notes that the economic and social development of the Caribbean was hindered by the brutalities, the inhumanity of slavery and the massive extraction of resources by European powers. The ancestors of that despicable and unprofessional host of British morning show.
The CARICOM plan, therefore, argues that reparations are necessary to address the historical wrongs that were done to African descendants in the Caribbean and, by extension, were slaves existed.
The call for reparations has also been supported by leading scholars in the field of Caribbean studies. In his seminal book “Slave Trade Routes and the Making of the Americas,” Guyanese historian and scholar Walter Rodney argues that the slave trade and its legacies are the fundamental reasons why the Caribbean remains the most underdeveloped region in the hemisphere.
Rodney notes that the forced migration of Africans created a vast African diaspora that has struggled to find its place in the world. He argues that the political and economic systems that emerged in the Caribbean were designed to serve the interests of European powers, and the African population was systematically excluded from decision-making processes.
Similarly, former Prime Minister and scholar Trinidadian historian Eric Williams argues in his book “Capitalism and Slavery” that the development of European powers was built on the exploitation of African labour. He argues that slavery was the engine of the global capitalist economy and that the wealth that European powers accumulated was built on the blood and sweat of African slaves.
Williams goes on to argue that the economic underdevelopment of the Caribbean was the direct result of the extractive policies of European powers. He notes that the Caribbean was deliberately kept in a state of underdevelopment to serve the interests of European powers.
The notion of reparations has also been supported by leading African American scholars such as Ta-Nehisi Coates. In his essay “The Case for Reparations,” Coates argues that the economic and social disparities that exist in America today are the result of the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow segregation.
He notes that African Americans were systematically excluded from the benefits of American prosperity, and the systemic racism that exists today is the direct result of these historical injustices.
Coates goes on to argue that reparations are necessary to address the historical wrongs that were done to African Americans. He notes that reparations are not just about financial compensation but also about acknowledging the wrongs that were done and creating a new social and political order that ensures that all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.
As the president said to the host, a remnant of his colonial imperialistic ancestors attitude, that there is numerous scholarly literature on the need and importance for reparations to be given.
The time is now for the world to support the need for reparations to be paid.
Hon. Jermaine Figueira.MP
Shadow Minister of Culture Youth and Sports
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