This island???s Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, will lead a delegation to the upcoming three-day Regional Conference on Reparations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, where he will deliver an address on behalf of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

The meeting is scheduled to start on Sunday, September 15, and conclude on Tuesday, September 17.

Other members of the delegation are: Chairman of the Reparations Task Force, Professor Pedro Welch; Director of the Commission for Pan African Affairs, Dr. Deryck Murray, and member of the Reparations Task Force, David Comissiong.??

According to the Culture Minister, the meeting will provide regional participants with an opportunity to discuss reparations, and ???to establish commonalities for the commensurate compensation for the atrocities perpetrated against people of African descent???.

He noted that the agenda included presentations from regional and international representatives and organisations on the struggle for reparations, explaining that ideas generated at the conference would also help CARICOM prepare a unified case for reparations, which would be considered by the Regional Heads of Government before being submitted to the appropriate international body.??

???It is hoped that this will accelerate the process,??? he said, adding that a presentation of the legal strategy for reparations was also on the agenda.

During the conference, Principal of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is slated to give an address on the case for Caribbean reparations.

The conference is expected to bring together representatives of CARICOM governments, national Reparations Commissions and Committees, the University of the West Indies, regional and international civil society groups, and individuals who have distinguished themselves as activists in the struggle for Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery in CARICOM.

The convening of the Regional Conference on Reparations is one of the decisions that came out of the 34th CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting, which was held in Trinidad and Tobago in July.??

It was at that meeting, that the Regional Reparations Commission was established, with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart appointed as the Chairman. It was decided then, that the regional conference would be held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.??

Barbados has been instrumental in the call for reparations and it established its Reparations Task Force on September 20, 2012 and formally launched it on Thursday, September 6, this year.

In 2011, at the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, Minister Lashley reiterated Barbados??? call for ???meaningful and innovated reparations globally for people of African descent, as past and continuing victims of racial discrimination???.

Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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