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Even 'on a stretcher', Henry vows to continue reparations fight

Published:Wednesday | January 30, 2013
Mike Henry

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

THREE GOVERNMENT members yesterday joined forces with Central Clarendon Member of Parliament Mike Henry in voting against an amendment to a motion on reparations.

The amendment, which was passed, served as a fly in the ointment for Henry, who was seeking to have the House appoint a committee to sit jointly with members of the Senate to discuss in consultation with private and/or governmental bodies the issue of reparations from Britain directly or, if necessary, through the highest international courts.

Government Members of Parliament Paul Buchanan, Julian Robinson and Jolyan Silvera, as well as Henry and his Opposition colleague Rudyard Spencer, voted 'no' to the amendment which was moved by Leader of Government Business Phillip Paulwell.

Paulwell said owing to the fact that the National Commission on Reparations for Slavery, which was launched in May 2009, was reconvened in 2012 and is actively involved in research, the motion should be deferred until the commission reports its findings.

MATTER OF URGENCY

"The proposed amendment is not in any way to deny and to vote negatively against this issue of reparation, but is to recognise that there is a process in place started by the former regime," Paulwell said.

He added: "We are going to ensure and insist that it be expedited so that this Parliament gets a report as a matter of urgency."

Henry insisted that the amendment be put to a vote.

When Clerk of the Houses of Parliament Heather Cooke took the names, 26 persons voted 'yes', five persons voted 'no' and six declined to vote.

Those who abstained were Dr Dayton Campbell, Pearnel Charles, Olivia Grange, Gregory Mair, Desmond McKenzie and Lloyd B. Smith.

Twenty-five members were absent for the vote, among them Dr Ken Baugh, who walked out while Cooke was conducting the exercise.

The fight for reparations has been championed for years by Henry. He noted that it has been the case that the Parliament has not dealt with the matter but signalled he would not stop fighting.

"Some people may want to see me go, I will bring it back next year. ... Suspend it and by the resuscitation, I am coming back on a stretcher to bring it back again," Henry declared.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com