CARICOM Reparations Commission to boost online presence

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Reparations Commission (CRC) will soon become more accessible online as it seeks to boost its presence by rolling out a new website and new social media platforms via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

According to Don Rojas, the Vincentian-born Senior Advisor for Communications to the Vice Chancellor, University of the West Indies (UWI), the CRC’s website is a multimedia portal that aggregates a wide range of print, video, and photo content about the growing reparations movement in the Caribbean and around the world.

The various social media platforms will also include news reports, speeches, lectures and essays by CARICOM leaders, public intellectuals, academics and civil society activists in the Caribbean, North America, Europe and Africa.

Rojas added that the website’s scope expands beyond the Caribbean region to encompass content that reflects an emerging global movement for reparatory justice.

He noted that the establishment of the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC) in July, 2013 has inspired the birth of similar reparations commissions and committees in the United States, Europe, Britain and Canada in recent years.

Aspects of the CRC’s 10-point Action Plan for reparatory justice have been emulated in the policy platforms of the Black Lives Matter and other civil rights movements in the US and Canada, Rojas said.

The social media campaign is geared towards bringing global awareness to the CARICOM reparatory justice movement, creating the context for the achievement of the 10-point plan through mass mobilization and support for the initiatives of the CRC.

“We are very pleased to launch our new Web site and social media platforms in this week of Emancipation celebrations, a time when our people all over the region are marking the end of chattel slavery, apprenticeship and indenture in the 19th Century,” said Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, UWI Vice Chancellor and Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission.

“These new online tools will serve to inform the general public on what the Commission has done since it was established three years ago and how a global reparations movement has emerged over that period,” he added. “This information will empower and inspire advocates for reparatory justice in the Caribbean and around the world.”

Rojas said the site and the social platforms will also catalogue progress made in recent years in the struggle for reparations, and will report on initiatives underway and those soon to be launched in various CARICOM Member-States, including the Reparations Relay initiative.

“Furthermore, these social media platforms will engage young people in the Caribbean and around the world in the ongoing reparations conversations and debates.”

The CRC was established following a mandate from the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government, at their 34thRegular Meeting held in Trinidad and Tobago in July 2013, to establish national committees and a regional commission to pursue reparations from the former European colonial powers for Native Genocide, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery.

Twelve CARICOM Member-States have established national reparations committees to date they are – Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

As part of its activities this year, Rojas said the CRC is hosting a series of international Reparations Relays and Rallies in collaboration with the CARICOM Member-States, which have committed to being part of the reparations movement.

“These events are being held on days of historical significance in relation to slavery, the slave trade or native genocide in each Member State,” he said. “A baton and torch are passed from the current Member-State to the next one which will host the rally.”

The first leg was hosted by Barbados in April, while Guyana hosted its Rally and Relay in May.

Suriname will host their event on August 9, the Day of Indigenous People, and St. Lucia’s event will be on August 17, the 129th birthday of Pan-Africanist and one of Jamaica’s National Heroes – Marcus Mosiah Garvey.

Antigua Observer