From left to right: Government’s Special Advisor on Culture and Heritage, Senator John King; Cultural Ambassador of Barbados, Dr. The Most Hon Anthony “Gabby” Carter; Professor Emerita of Social History, Verene Shepherd; Ghanaian Member of Parliament, Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo; and UNFPA Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Harold Robinson Davis, in discussion at the Africa-African Diaspora Dialogues on Recognition, Justice and Development at Hilton Barbados. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Government’s Special Advisor on Culture and Heritage, Senator John King, is calling for follow-up action on the proposals, ideas and commitments made at the Africa/CARICOM Summit last September.

He also wants to see the creation of a permanent Forum of African and Caribbean States to foster more dialogue and collaboration between Africa and the Caribbean, and between the African Union and CARICOM.

Senator King made the appeal as he delivered an address on behalf of Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley at the Africa-African Diaspora Dialogues on Recognition, Justice and Development.  It was held yesterday at Hilton Barbados, under the theme: Shaping the Present for the We Future Want.

He told the delegates that they should use the meeting to discuss ways of creating greater synergies between the CARICOM Reparations Campaign, the pursuit of the programme of activities for the International Decade for the People of African Descent, and the Decade of Action to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals

Senator King insisted that no one must be left behind, and pointed out that solving global problems required strong global moral leadership as the “impetus to creating the future that we want for ourselves and humanity”. 

He added: “And it is also for that very reason that we have all gathered in this forum to stride hand in hand toward inequality…determined to deconstruct a present burdened with the imbalances and inequalities of our past and to reconstruct a global society that functions to the benefit of all.”

He proffered the view that many of our ancestors came to this side of the world forcibly and under the worst conditions, and today, across the globe, blacks were disproportionately confronted with racial discrimination, and constituted some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised groups.

The black race, Senator King, said was still reeling from the horrors of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and its “younger but equally destructive relative – colonialism”.

 “It is in acknowledgement of these enduring impacts and in the promotion of recognition, justice and development that the United Nations General Assembly established the International Decade for People of African Descent, from 2015 to 2024,” he stated.

The Special Advisor continued: “It is against this background of that impulse towards equality – that determination to redress imbalances and inequalities and to ensure that our nations and peoples are not left behind – that all of the “partners”, who have come together at this important forum, must resolve to redouble our efforts to work collaboratively with each other.”

He proffered the view that “our right to development is a critical pillar of the justice we seek today” and achieving this ideal required “significant restructuring of the major international institutions; a re-engineering of the terms of international trade; re-defining the inequitable rules of international finance, and a long overdue reparatory justice and compensation arrangement to redress the lingering inequalities left in the wake of centuries of exploitation of the African peoples”.

Also addressing the forum was Professor Emerita of Social History, Verene Shepherd; United Nations Populations Fund Regional (UNFPA) Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Harold Robinson Davis, and UNFPA’S Executive Director, Natalia Kanem.  

The University of the West Indies/United Nations Populations Fund joint-dialogue wraps up today, Friday, May 13.

julie.carrington@barbados.gov.bb

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