The Reparations Baton began its regional journey last Saturday when it was passed from Barbados to Guyana by Chairman of Barbados??? Task Force on Reparations, Professor Dr. Pedro Welch.
The baton was received by Acting Consul General for the Cooperative Republic of Guyana in Barbados, Monique Jackman, at the start of the island???s 50th Anniversary of Independence national production From Bussa to Barrow and Beyond, at the historic Golden Grove Plantation, St. Philip.
This is an initiative by the Regional CARICOM Reparations Commission to actively send the reparations message around the region, through public education and other initiatives focused on the youth.
Commenting on the passing of the baton on Saturday, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who is also Chairman of the CARICOM Sub-Committee on Reparations, said: ???For Barbados, the 1816 Bussa Rebellion was a prominent uprising whose bicentenary helps us to recognise its effect in shaping the future of this small island developing state.
???Barbados has recommitted itself to the call for reparations on this occasion as a mark of respect for our ancestors who struggled for reparatory justice. To mark this event, Barbados has the distinct honour of leading off the symbolic passing of the reparations baton to Guyana as a show of CARICOM solidarity for the cause of reparations.???
While the Barbados Task Force on Reparations was officially launched on October 12, 2012, the Caribbean Reparations Commission was formed by CARICOM Heads of Government in 2013. The Commission is headed by Chairman Sir Hilary Beckles, and there are now several national reparations committees throughout the region.
The establishment of the Barbados Task Force may be seen, partly, as a contemporary initiative but also as the culmination of a centuries old battle for justice and equity.
At the Oshe Emeka Awards Ceremony last Friday night, Prime Minister Stuart spoke extensively on the reparations discussions that are necessary in Barbados and the region.