Rastafarians in Bahamas call for reparations for the enslavement and colonization of African people
Alex Morley of the African People’s Socialist Party-Bahamas
Published May 27, 2014 on UhuruNews.com
New Providence, The Bahamas—The Rastafari Rally for Reparations was held on May 5th at R.M. Bailey Park in New Providence, Bahamas.
The rally was hosted by the House of Rastafari, a coalition of various groups of Rastafarians in The Bahamas.
The purpose of the rally was to raise the public’s awareness about movement on the reparations issue throughout the region.
The event included speakers from the Elders Council of the Rastafarian community, solidarity statements from guest speakers and cultural performances.
The rally comes on the heels of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) decision to consider making a legal case against Europe for the genocide of the Indigenous people and the enslavement and colonization of African people in the Caribbean.
CARICOM has hired a British law firm, Leigh Day, to look into the matter. This is the same law firm that represented African women in Kenya in their legal case against British soldiers for the horrendous crimes, including rape, which had been committed against them.
National Reparations Commissions have been appointed in several Caribbean countries and scholar Hilary Beckles has been appointed the Chairman of CARICOM’s Reparations Commission.
In The Bahamas, the government recently appointed Alfred Sears, a former attorney general, as the Chairman of the National Reparations Commission. This commission includes, amongst others, clergymen, professors, historians, lawyers and members from the Rastafarian community.
At the Rastafari Rally for Reparations, Chairman Sears told the crowd that he was still amazed by how many people in The Bahamas did not know about the great contributions Africa has made to humanity. Sears said that he would do all that was possible to carry the case for reparations to the International Court of Justice.
Priest Blyden, from the House of Rastafari, told the crowd that Europeans gave us paper freedom and he said we should recognize the Africans in Haiti who were able to overturn their oppressors in the Haitian Revolution.
Blyden also said that before we go to England, the problems of the Rastafarian community here in the Bahamas had to be addressed, including land reform, the need for African history in schools and discrimination against Rastafarians.
Alex Morley, Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party-Bahamas, told the crowd that Point number 11 of the Party’s Working Platform states that we want the U.S. and the international European ruling class to pay Africa and African people for the centuries of genocide, oppression and enslavement of our people.
Morley said that if we are serious about creating a reparations movement in The Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean, it was essential that the movement have its own independent position and that position must recognize that the current material conditions Africans suffer worldwide have their origin in the attack that led to the capture of our homeland and our people.
Morley also said that a real reparations movement was not about fighting against racism, which is simply the ideological foundation of capitalism, but it was about African people fighting for power over their own lives.
Morley said that the African petty bourgeoisie fights against racism because they only want integration into the white capitalist word. He said that a real reparations movement must be used to expose the oppressive nature of Caribbean societies.
Morley stressed that the reparations message had to be taken to all African workers and that international support for reparations must be won.
According to CARICOM, in preparation of a legal claim, each National Reparations Commission is to gather information pertaining to each claimant state; illustrate the link between historic discrimination and present-day racial discrimination; outline modern racial discrimination resulting from slavery in areas of health, socio-economic deprivation and social disadvantage, education, living conditions/housing, property and land ownership, employment participation in public life and migration; and identity policies of the United Kingdom, which have perpetuated the discriminatory effects of slavery in the country. This is the terms of reference for the Bahamas Commission.
CARICOM’s ten-point framework for reparations includes an Apology, Reparation, Indigenous Peoples Development, Cultural Institutions, Public Health, Illiteracy Programs, African Knowledge Program, Psychological Rehabilitation, Technology Transfer and Debt Cancellation.
The African People’s Socialist Party-Bahamas has also published a Position Statement and Ten Demands on Reparations for the indigenous and African people in the Caribbean.
The demands include a demand that European companies be made to pay African workers a living wage, the demand for all counter-insurgent interventions in Africa to come to an end, a demand for France to repay Haiti for the monies Haiti was forced to pay France after the revolution, and a demand for European museums to return all artifacts stolen during the genocide of the Indigenous people and the enslavement and colonization of African people.
The complete list of the demands can be found on uhurunews.com and at www.facebook.com/apsp.bah.
The African People’s Socialist Party-Bahamas held an African Liberation Day event on May 23rd under the theme “Reparations and the African Nation.”