The Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) is to offer a course on reparation, looking at the issue of compensation for slavery in the Caribbean.
The course is being designed by lecturer in the Department of Government in Political Philosophy and Culture, Dr. Clinton Hutton, who said the curriculum will examine the argument for reparation within a historical context.
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders at their summit in Trinidad and Tobago in July, agreed to establish a committee under the chairmanship of the Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to drive the issue.
Suriname has already said it would instruct the councils of the Union of South American States to collect “all relevant information for Suriname and CARICOM” on the reparation matter.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said the Caribbean is demanding reparation from Europe for native genocide and African slavery.
Hutton said that it is important to educate the Caribbean population about the issues of slavery and reparation, as many young people still do not see a connection between themselves and their enslaved ancestors.
“In other words, they are unable to feel empathy for their own ancestors,” he said, noting that the same lack of feeling displayed for our ancestors is the same that the Europeans had towards black people.
Hutton said that during his lectures, some students have argued that the reason their foreparents were enslaved was because they were uneducated.
He argued, however, that some of the people, who came across the Middle Passage, were state makers, scientists and highly skilled persons.
“In fact, the reason for Europeans going to Africa was that Africa was rich in tropical agriculture and not because of the physical makeup of our ancestors,” he stated.
“We need to walk through the passages that our ancestors walked, and we can only do that if we educate ourselves,” he added.
He said education will also generate a bigger and growing political voice to support the work of the National Commission for Reparations (NCR).