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Digicel Chairman Joins CARICOM Reparations Movement

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Chairman of Digicel Denis O’Brien offered his support to the regional reparations movement during an engagement last week with the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC).

Mr. O’Brien presented a proposal entitled “Repair” that he said could assist in advancing CARICOM’s call for Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery.

The Plan seeks to persuade the British and European governments and institutions to establish a new long-term fund for reparations. He said the fund will have clear five-year targets with financing flowing to the region annually.

The Digicel Chairman had already publicly declared his solidarity with the work of the CRC and had spoken on the matter to several CARICOM Heads of Government, the Commission’s Chairman, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, and national reparations committees.

O’Brien said the proposal supports the CRC Ten Point Plan for Reparatory Justice in which reparation is defined as an economic and social development strategy for the region. He agreed with the CRC’s position that Europe owes the region a ‘Marshall style Plan’ after 400 years of wealth extraction by which it was enriched.

The Chairman of Digicel said his repair plan will facilitate multisectoral investments in agriculture, health and education, among other areas. He suggested that such a multi-sectoral investment and trading plan was critical to the successful recovery of the region from current international economic crises.

In applauding O’Brien and his team for their affirmation and support of the work of CRC, Professor Beckles said the Repair plan has the potential to engage in high-level government relations with the UK, Europe, and the European Union.

“This level of engagement will help build momentum in support of CARICOM’s call for reparations,” he added.

The Repair plan seeks to energise the movement for reparations through public relations campaigns in the United Kingdom, and European and Caribbean communities. To achieve this objective, a robust communications strategy utilising both traditional and social media platforms will be implemented.

Mr. O’Brien commended the Commission for its outstanding work in bringing reparations to the top of the global agenda. Everywhere in Britain, he noted, exposure and apologies for enrichment from slavery are the order of the day.

The next critical step is to influence public opinion so that European leaders will offer reparations instead of cautious statements of regret.

He also called for the establishment of a team of regional economists from UWI and other partners to prepare a report on what the ‘Marshall Plan style Reparations’ development program would entail. The time he said has come to put a firm but reasonable reparations for development proposal before Europe.

The Commission and Mr. O’Brien team agreed to collaborate and to work together to further develop the proposal in the coming months.

The CARICOM Reparations Commission invites other private sector corporations in the Caribbean and in Europe to similarly partner with the CRC to seek reparatory justice for the peoples of the Caribbean.

SOURCE: Caribbean Community Secretariat

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3 COMMENTS

  1. amen and a white man at that seeing to it we get it it seems wee finally moving somewhere with this reparations. Aaron Alexander and Andre Decaires what do you guys have to say on this?

  2. There are many “white” people who acknowledge the atrocities that were perpetrated on
    indigenous people and African people sold into slavery. Why assume that “white” people are not sympathetic to this? Afterall “white” people fought for the abolition of slavery too. They are not all bad, and neither are all black people good – they too were complicit in the slave trade. A very simplistic approach to a very complex situation. Anyway let’s hope those strategies for reparations are put in place sooner rather than later. We need to build up our Caribbean nations, and fundamental rights for people who have inherited significant disadvantages while European nations still reap the rewards of one of the most shocking events in history.

  3. Indeed. It is of importance to note that the very problems that is suffered by people of African descent today, can be traced back to that terrible trade of human trafficking. And it is a fact that the vast wealth of the global north was accrued by this terrible practice of Human exploitation.. Africa built the world and the world owes Africa’s people a huge dept, which, if it is to be paid, will surely bankrupt the beneficiaries of the slave trade. Reparations has to be paid because no atrocities ever committed has had such devastating effect on a people. Take of note, Haiti, the conditions of people of African descent in South America, the suffering of the entire Caribbean belt who struggle for economic progress and development. Take of note, Africa. The world’s riches continent yet have the most depraved on any human, economic, social or political index. And yes a lot of it is due to corrupt politicians and self serving despots but the four centuries of depleting Human resources from the African continent had a direct effect in Africa’s current predicament. And still even after slavery was abolished, there was colonialism which continued a new policy of suppression in various forms… Slavery is one of the least studied, less talked about atrocity simply because the truth is terrible for the current mind to fathom…yet we can’t forget our ancestors and what they went through. The fact that you and I are here and can read this statement means that our ancestors survived 400 years of inhumane treatment and we are the evidence that they survived and defeated this most horrible institution called slavery…indeed we are a great people before slavery and after slavery…see how the world has taken our African heritage in some form or another and graft themselves into it…see how our music and culture so rich influence global charts..see how slave influence created salsa, bachata, zouk, meringue, tango, calypso, reggae, jazz, blues, rock and roll, hip hop,..just to name a few in music, see the influence in food, art, fashion etc etc…….we have left an indelible mark on the world that can’t be erased and it’s only right that reparations be paid in one form or the other. One cannot underestimate how profoundly Africa and persons of African descent has influenced the world. Indeed we built the world.

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