Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Cuban president supports CARICOM reparation movement

Published:Saturday | July 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel (left) and Prime Minister Andrew Holness arrive at a special luncheon held at The Half Moon Golf Course in Montego Bay on Thursday as part of the 39th Regular Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government held in Montego Bay from July 4-6.

The Caribbean Community's (CARICOM) reparation movement gathered more steam on Thursday as Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel decried the sustained impact of slavery on contemporary Caribbean societies.

"Cuba will always support the just demands of the Caribbean to receive fair and differentiated treatment in access to trade and investments. And, without doubt, we will support the legitimate demand for compensation for the horrors of slavery and the slave trade ... ," said Diaz-Canel at a luncheon hosted by CARICOM chairman Prime Minister Andrew Holness at Sugar Mill Restaurant in Montego Bay. This was the president's first interaction with the 15-member grouping since his election in April.

 

ECONOMIC TRAUMA

 

Diaz-Canel also argued that international cooperation should be informed by the economic trauma faced by former colonies.

On Thursday, the second day of the 39th Regular Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in Montego Bay, the culture ministry mounted an exhibition that had a keen focus on the methods of torture employed during slavery.

Professor Verene Shepherd, one of three vice-chairpersons of the CARICOM Reparation Commission, told The Gleaner that "there was a lot of re-commitment to the movement by those (CARICOM leaders) who had not really engaged recently in the movement and so for us, it was very successful".

The social historian said that there would be increased public education within the region, engagement with the diaspora, and dialogue with former colonisers. She noted that a second round of letters would be crafted for European leaders and sent by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, chairperson of CARICOM's prime ministerial sub-committee on reparation. This will be complemented by legal action.

"We are assembling a regional group of lawyers because it is now time to implement the idea that a legal case can be mounted against those who committed these crimes against humanity," said Shepherd.

brian.walker@gleanerjm.com