Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, has said that while Jamaica will become a republic, “we will seek reparations”, noting that reparations are about repairing the damage caused by the enslavement of Africans which is still evident today.
She was speaking today (June 13) in the House of Representatives delivering her presentation in the 2023/24 Sectoral Debate.
“We must continue to pursue reparations for the hundreds of years of chattel enslavement of our African ancestors on plantations in this country. It is not enough to regret to suffering that slavery inflicted on our ancestors. We have been taught that when you do something wrong, you must take responsibility for it, apologise and try to set things right. That is really the essence of our demand,” she said.
The Minister said that it is not just about the money. She said that it is about returning dignity to the Jamaican people for the suffering endured by the ancestors and noted that there are other forms of reparations such as debt forgiveness.
“The National Council on Reparations is in the process of finalising a petition to King Charles III in accordance with section 4 of the Privy Council Act for him to seek the counsel of the Privy Council in declaring that the people of Jamaica, descendants of enslaved ancestors deserve that their historical plight be remedied through various forms of reparations,” she added.
“There are at least ten points that, through CARICOM, we will pursue,” she highlighted, stressing that seeking reparations is about setting things right for Jamaicans to advance and prosper.
“The promotion of reparations is an idea whose time has come and we are determined to take advantage of the moment as we are setting things right. We have been heartened by the gestures being made by an increasing number of people and institutions in the United Kingdom (UK) who are declaring the desire to provide reparations for their ancestors’ role in African trafficking and enslavement. At this time, we call on the government of the UK to do the same,” she shared.
National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Chattel Enslavement and Transatlantic Trafficking in Africans
The Minister also spoke about the annual commemoration of the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Chattel Enslavement and Transatlantic Trafficking in Africans.
“On this day, we will reflect on and remember our ancestors, many of who suffered and died to make us free. They must never be forgotten,” she said.
Grange was speaking about the act of memoralisation and how it “ensures that we always remember important people and events but it also helps to ensure that certain challenging and horrific parts of our history are never repeated.”
The National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Chattel Enslavement and Transatlantic Trafficking in Africans was proclaimed earlier this year by Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen.
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