??Minister of Culture, Stephen Lashley (left), reviewing the ‘Freedom Corridor’, while listening to Director of the Commission for Pan-African Affairs, Dr. Deryck Murray.?? Also pictured, Project Officer (Ag), Janelle James (behind). (A. Gaskin/BGIS)??

Barbadians will soon hear about some of the systems which will be created to examine the issue of reparations.

This disclosure came recently from Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, after he toured the Commission for Pan-African Affairs. He said once those necessary discussions were undertaken he would be in a position to share relevant information on the new systems.

Mr. Lashley continued: "I have discussed the issue of reparations with the Commission for Pan African Affairs with a view to Barbados taking a leading role in ensuring that it does not remain at the level of just words, but we can translate it into an action plan…

"I think we have a solemn responsibility as a predominantly black democracy to take a lead on this issue which is currently before the international community."

He proffered the view that unless appropriate systems were created by which the developmental objectives of the reparations agenda could be realised, then the issue would remain only rhetoric. "What I want to ensure is that… we can translate this issue into meaningful steps of progress," he assured the public.

While recently addressing a one-day United Nations High-Level Meeting in New York, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, Minister Lashley made a call for "meaningful and innovative reparations" globally for people of African descent as past and continuing victims of racial discrimination.

He argued that funding targeted at national economic development, as well as resources intended to support social programmes, designed to counter the attacks on the self-worth of people of African descent, should be included in these reparations.

"Such programmes are being implemented in Barbadian schools and communities, and they investigate, identify and counter these messages and images that negate the value of the knowledge and culture of people of African descent by building awareness of the fundamental contribution of African people to world civilisation," he told his audience.

At that meeting, Mr. Lashley also called for significant resources to be allocated to fund national, regional and international multi-ethnic research centres to develop new conceptual tools for understanding the complex nature of racial discrimination.


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