CARICOM Reparations Presentation to UK House of Commons

PROFESSOR SIR HILARY BECKLES

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

ADDRESS DELIVERED BY PROFESSOR SIR HILARY BECKLES
CHAIRMAN OF THE CARICOM REPARATIONS COMMISSION

to the

HOUSE OF COMMONS,
PARLIAMENT OF GREAT BRITAIN
COMMITTEE ROOM 14
JULY 16, 2014

Madam Chair, the distinguished member of Parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Diane Abbott, other distinguished members of the House of Lords, and House of Commons, Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corp, colleagues at the head table, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I speak this evening, in this honourable chamber of the House of Commons, as Chairman of the CARICOM Commission on Reparations. My colleagues of the Commission are tasked with the preparation and presentation of the evidentiary basis for a contemporary truth: that the Government of Great Britain, and other European states that were the beneficiaries of enrichment from the enslavement of African peoples, the genocide of indigenous communities, and the deceptive breach of contract and trust in respect of Indians and other Asians brought to the plantations under indenture, have a case to answer in respect of reparatory justice.

The case of genocide is not only in respect of our decimated native community. It is also important to recognize the genocidal aspect of chattel slavery in the Caribbean.

British slave ships brought 5.5 million enslaved Africans into their Caribbean colonies over 180 years. When slavery was abolished in 1838 they were just 800,000 persons remaining. That is, a retention/survival rate of 15%. Jamaica received 1.5 million Africans. Only 300,000 remained at Emancipation (20%). Barbados received 600,000 Africans. Only 83,000 remained at Emancipation (14%). The regime of enslavement was crafted by policies and attitudes that were clearly genocidal.

This case is for the CARICOM governments to present on behalf of its citizens. I am sure that in its presentation there will be due regard for the principles of diplomacy and development cooperation – for which they have long distinguished themselves. This process will bring honour and dignity to the people of the Caribbean as well as to the people of Great Britain and Europe.

CARICOM governments, like the government of Great Britain, represent nations that are independent and equal. As such, they should proceed on the basis of their legitimate equality, without fear of retribution, in the best interest of humanity, and for a better future for us all.

I am honoured to be asked to speak in this historic parliament of the people of Great Britain. Like you I am aware that this Parliament prepared the official political basis of the crimes that defined the colonial past. It is here, in this House, that the evil system of slavery, and genocide, were established. This House passed laws, framed fiscal policies, and enforced the crimes that have produced harmful legacies and persistent suffering now in need of repair.

This House also made emancipation from slavery and independence from colonialism an empowering reality. It is in here, we now imagine, that laws for reparatory justice can be conceptualized and implemented. It is in here, we believe, that the terrible wrongs of the past can be corrected, and humanity finally and truthfully liberated from the shame and guilt that have followed these historical crimes.

We must believe in the corrective power of this Parliament to respond positively to this present challenge, and in the process free itself from the bondage of its own sins and crimes. Without this belief our journey here this evening would be lacking integrity, and without a doubt, would be a useless exercise.

But I speak in this honourable House this evening, not only as Chairman of a rightfully constituted commission that is peopled by some of our finest Caribbean citizens, and who have been selected by our distinguished Presidents and Prime Ministers, but as a Caribbean person with an affinity for this country. I was raised and educated here. I came from the Caribbean to this country as a child; I grew to maturity here; and was educated here in a fine university that has distinguished itself in the Liberal-Progressive pedagogy of the nation.

Great Britain, therefore, is my second home and I care for it as I care for my first home, the Great Caribbean. I wish for Great Britain, as I do for the Great Caribbean, peace and prosperity. I wish that their shared past, painful though it has been, will be transformed into a moral force of mutual respect and development cooperation.

It is for these reasons that I have joined the Caribbean and global movement for reparatory justice. I believe we can settle this case within the context of diplomatic initiatives that are consistent with our status as equal nations.

The crimes committed against the indigenous, African, and Asian peoples of the Caribbean are well documented. We know of the 250 years of slave trading, chattel slavery, and the following 100 years of colonial oppression.

Slavery was ended in 1838, only to be replaced by a century of racial apartheid, including the denigration of Asian people. Indigenous genocide, African chattel slavery and genocide, and Asian contract slavery, were three acts of a single play – a single process by which the British state forcefully extracted wealth from the Caribbean resulting in its persistent, endemic poverty.

I wish to comment, as a result, on the 1833 Act of Emancipation, and how this august Parliament betrayed the enslaved people of the Caribbean by forcing them to pay more than 50% of the cost of their own emancipation. This is an aspect of the history long hidden from public view.

We know, for example, that this Parliament in 1833 determined that the 800,000 enslaved people in the Caribbean were worth, as chattel property, £47 million. This was their assessed market value. We know that this Parliament determined that all slave owners should receive just and fair compensation for the official taking away of their property. We know that this Parliament provided the sum of £20 million in grants to the slave owners as fair compensation for the loss of their human chattel.

And we know that this Parliament determined that the enslaved people would receive none of this compensation. The argument made in this House was that ‘property’ cannot receive property compensation. This Parliament, in its emancipation Act, upheld the law that black people were not human, but property.

What this Parliament has hid from the world is that it also determined that the remaining £27 million would be paid by the enslaved people to their enslavers, by means of a 4 year period of free labour called the Apprenticeship.

This period of additional free labour by the emancipated represented the enforced extraction of £27 million by the state. It was a cruel and shameful method of legislating Emancipation by forcing the enslaved to pay more than 50% of the financial cost of their own freedom. The £20 million paid the enslavers by this Parliament was less than the £27 million paid by the enslaved to the enslavers as dictated by this House.

I wish now to engage the argument of the British Government that the slavery and other colonial crimes were ‘legal’, and that they took place ‘a long time ago’, and are beyond the border of adjudication.

Allow me, Madam Chair, to breach protocol and to interject myself into the discourse, in order to demonstrate how very contemporary and current this exploitation of the Caribbean people is and has been.

Upstairs this chamber sits the Earl of Harewood. He is an honourable member of the House of Lords. But does Lord Harewood know that my grandfather after Independence in Barbados in 1966 labored on this sugar plantation, as did his father and forefathers, going back to the days of slavery? Does the goodly Lord know that as a child I took lunch for my grandfather into the canefields of his sugar plantation? Lord Harewood, and my family, go back a long way, from slavery right into the present.

Take also the very aristocratic and very distinguished Cumberbatch family. It has now produced the brilliant young actor, Benedict Cumberbatch [who I would love to meet one day]. Benedict’s grandfather owned the estate on which my beloved great grandmother worked all her adult life. They enslaved my family on their Cleland plantation in the parish of St. Andrew. My great grandmother, who helped to raise me, and who we all called ‘mammy’, carried the name Adriana Cumberbatch. The actor and academic are joined therefore by a common past and present, and maybe, common blood!

My case is but one of ten thousand such cases. Everywhere across the Caribbean the presence of our enslavers can be identified in our daily domestic lives. This history is not remote. It is alive and pressing upon our daily affairs.

And what have our people and governments been doing with respect to this legacy since we have gained national independence? The truth is, the people of the Caribbean have been very courageous in their effort at self-development and self-help in respect of this terrible history and enduring legacy.

Our citizens have faced this past head on, and have established a vibrant culture of community self-help and sustainable regional development mobilization. We are not beggars! We are not subservient! We do not want charity and handouts! We want justice! Reparatory justice!

When all is said and done, our governments these past 50 years have been cleaning up the mess left behind by Britain’s colonial legacy. Our finest Presidents and Prime Ministers have been devising projects to clean up the awful mess inherited from slavery and colonization. They must be commended for this effort, but the fact is, this legacy of rubble and ruin, persistent poverty, and racialised relations and reasoning, that continues to cripple our best efforts, has been daunting.

Britain, and its Parliament, cannot morally and legally turn their back upon this past, and walk away from the mess they have left behind. This Parliament has to return to the scene of its crimes, and participate as a legitimate parliament, as a legal parliament, in the healing and rehabilitation of the Caribbean.

We cannot, and should not, be asked to do this by ourselves. We have done our part. This Parliament must now return, and do its part, within the context of reparatory justice, and within the framework of development cooperation.

I wish to give two examples of how this reparatory justice can work:

(1) Jamaica, Britain’s largest slave colony, was left with 80% black functional illiteracy at Independence in 1962. From this circumstance the great and courageous Jamaican nation has struggled with development and poverty alleviation. The deep crisis remains. This Parliament owes the people of Jamaica an educational and human resource investment initiative.

(2) Barbados, Britain’s first slave society, is now called the amputation capitol of the world. It is here that the stress profile of slavery and racial apartheid; dietary disaster and psychological trauma; and the addiction to the consumption of sugar and salt, have reached the highest peak. The country is now host to the world’s most virulent diabetes and hypertension epidemic. This Parliament owes the people of Barbados an education and health initiative.

It is the same for all our countries; the Bahamas, the Leewards, the Windwards, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, and beyond.

The CARICOM Ten Point Plan for Reparatory Justice addresses these development issues that are central to the case Britain has to answer. It is an invitation to Great Britain to demonstrate leadership within the legal, moral, and diplomatic culture of the world, within the Commonwealth, and within its relations the Caribbean.

There can be no escaping the importance of this exchange of views about the matter before this honourable chamber tonight.

It took all of the 19th century to uproot slavery from the Caribbean; from Haiti in 1804 to the Spanish sub-region in the 1880s. It took another 100 years to create citizenship, nationhood, and democracy across the Caribbean as a development framework. We have helped ourselves.

This 21st century will be the century of global reparatory justice. Citizens are now, for the first time since they were driven into retreat by colonialism, able to stand up for reparatory justice without fear. Their claim, their just claim for reparations, will not go away. Rather, like the waves upon our beautiful shores, they will keep coming until reparatory justice is attained.

Madam Chair, we call upon you, and all members of this House, to rise to this challenge and to assist Great Britain to be truly worthy of the title “Great”. I urge you to do the right thing, in the right way. There is no other right time, other than right now, in our time. There is so much to gain from your leadership. The Caribbean is counting on you.

In 1823, the honourable Thomas Buxton, M.P. for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, presented a bill to this House calling for an Emancipation Act with compensation for the enslaved people. His bill and vision were defeated. Instead, ten years later, an emancipation bill was passed, not with compensation for the enslaved, but with handsome and generous compensation for enslavers. Some 40% of the national expenditure of the country was handed over to slave-owners as reparations.

The enslaved people of the Caribbean got nothing. Indeed, they were then called upon by the said Emancipation Act to give £27 million in free labour to their enslavers. The injustice and the cruelty of that Emancipation Act, remain today like a fish bone stuck in our throats.

We urge you, Madam Chair, and other members of this Parliament, to rise up and bring the Buxton vision to life. He was a noble warrior for reparatory justice; his spirit can return to this House, in both places, and the 21st century will be ours to forge a new moral order for our collective wellbeing.

On behalf of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, all my colleagues across the Caribbean who have worked with our governments in order to bring this case before you, I ask that you respond with humility and openness when your government receives an invitation to meet with our governments in summit in order to discuss this matter.

May the values and the spirit of development cooperation and mutual respect guide us all.

Thank you Madam Chair.

43 Responses to “CARICOM Reparations Presentation to UK House of Commons”


  • Keep Indians Outside the Frame of Reparations

    The above-mentioned statement made in the House of Commons making a case for monetary reparations to be paid for genocide to be quantified and disbursed for the act of slavery includes in its remit and argumentation the system of indentureship that started in 1845 in T&T and ended in 1917.
    I find this unauthorised inclusion of the Indians to be farce and outa place.At no time have I heard of any Indian organisation or individual making a case for the British Government to pay reparations for the system of indentureship. Examine the quote below from Sir Hilary’s submission to the House of Commons.

    “…Slavery was ended in 1838, only to be replaced by a century of racial apartheid, including the denigration of Asian people. Indigenous genocide, African chattel slavery and genocide, and Asian contract slavery, were three acts of a single play – a single process by which the British state forcefully extracted wealth from the Caribbean resulting in its persistent, endemic poverty…”

    Indians celebrate their arrival in T&T as part of their destiny and they have attempted to make good of this system of transportation. They thank their pitris for enduring the crossing the kala pani and the pagal samundar to give them a better life in T&T. They do not want compensation or free money.
    I will like Sir Hilary to tell us Indians descendants of the indentured labourers where, when and how did Indians articulate their desire to be given reparations for the system of indenrureship and to be included in the Caricom plan?
    I suggest that the claim for reparations is typical of African culture and value system. I have no problem with that because this is their right and their entitlement to interpret the past as they see best.
    But please do not rope in the Indians without their consent in trying to establish a case without consulting them as I believe that claiming of reparations is not part and parcel of the cultural/religious moorings of the Indo-Caribbean Diaspora and they should be excluded in the scope of the reparation application unless the voices silent hitherto say otherwise.

  • CARICOM and Reparations for African Slavery
    By David Muhammad
    In early March 2014 the heads of Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) met in St. Vincent to discuss a number of issues including reparations for the crimes against humanity during the African Slave Trade. It was ironic that Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar would return home declaring the progress of CARICOM in its discussions on this topic when her Indian government has shown absolutely no interest whatsoever in any kind of compensation for the enslavement of Africans.

    • But the scope of the Statement by Sir Hilary extends beyond slavery to include the Indians, Chinese and Amerindians and not exclusively Africans.
      How he arrived at this extended remit taking into account the Caricom position escapes me.
      KPB has no mandate from the electorate to support this idea.

    • KIAN:
      I described the view that payment of reparations to Indian descendants as “free money” because Indians do not seek reparations on the basis of the following:
      1. Indentureship has been viewed taking into account their own distinctive cultural/religious moorings/Indian personality/cultural conditioning and the prevailing conditions of famine in India circa 1857 and their belief in the doctrine of Karma and Dharma to be something that they do not have very strong adverse feelings and compensation has not entered their their psyche. Any money will be considered to be free money to them or money that they never thought of or expected.. This free concept does not apply to the African position because as I said:
      “…I suggest that the claim for reparations is typical of African/Afro-Caribbean culture and value system. I have no problem with that because this is their right and their entitlement to interpret the past as they see best…”
      2. Indians celebrate their arrival in T&T and their success in negotiating the challenges of rural isolation and neglect by the Anglo- colonisers in not affording them education and skills training until the Presbyterians arrived.
      3.The slavery system was distinctively harsh, oppressive. inhumane and regarded human beings as property to be traded and was quite different from the indentureship system even though Sir HiLary describes it as one of the three acts thus;
      “…Slavery was ended in 1838, only to be replaced by a century of racial apartheid, including the denigration of Asian people. Indigenous genocide, African chattel slavery and genocide, and Asian contract slavery, were three acts of a single play – a single process by which the British state forcefully extracted wealth from the Caribbean resulting in its persistent, endemic poverty…”

      • This qualification explains your statement for which I asked and I’m content with your answer. As a descendant of slaves, I’m very aware of the many interpretations of the physical, mental, psychological and potentials of my people, when there is an attack on that experience I become sensitive to the motives of those who demean this history into hyperbole.

  • I tend to agree with Stephen Kangal that Indians shouldn’t have been included into this CARICOM presentation to the House of Lords. Slavery is a distinct act of inhumanity perpetrated by racist Europeans to demean, categorise and render inferior the people that they brought from Africa. The African experience under the slave system was brutal and one in which the African did not share in the contractual arrangements and should not be included in the claim for reparations. “They do not want compensation or free money.”….. Stephen Kangal. I haven taken this statement to mean one of three things: (1) The Indians view reparations as ‘free money’. (2) The Indians view money being paid for reparations and intended to be shared with Indians as ‘free money’ or (3) Monies being paid for reparations by the Europeans represented money not worth paying to Africans or anyone else. If I were to comment without knowing exactly what the writer intended my summation would not truthfully represent the essence his arguments. I therefore beg to ask a clarification on his statement. I await a response!

    • You and Stephen do not speak for me, stop this nonsense of saying that Indians do not need compensation money. The British system of justice have long acknowledge that indentureship was a form of slavery. My ancestors were fed a set of lies, many jumped overboard instead of enduring the hard journey. As time went by the ship owner overload their cargo of indentured labourers and cause cruel and unusual punishment to a docile people.

      In Trinidad except for one or two sugar estates that was cleared for sugar production, my ancestors had the arduous duty of subduing a hostile environment. There were caimans and snakes in abundance. I still remember coming within 10 feet of a caiman basking in the sunshine and my father killing snakes at least 3 feet long.

      My ancestors worked from Sun up to Sun down treated as animals to satisfy quotas in sugar production. Who reap the benefit of their labour? They most certainly did not!!!

      The British have repatriated over $300 million to India for many years as compensation for injustices suffered under the British Raj. I think individual family compensation would be the way forward in settling this issue once and for all. The British can make it simple with families applying for repatriation money. In my case it is five generations of family history and $1 million pound would be good and sufficient to assuage the pain I have felt as a diaspora Indian to which I make no apology, for me it is my ancestral sweat and blood certainly NOT “free money”.

      • Mamoo
        Have you read this sentence?

        “….But please do not rope in the Indians without their consent in trying to establish a case without consulting them as I believe that claiming of reparations is not part and parcel of the cultural/religious moorings of the Indo-Caribbean Diaspora and they should be excluded in the scope of the reparation application unless the voices silent hitherto say otherwise…”

      • Mamoo:
        Your points are well taken and I dare say that as a country boy I have had a personal experience of the harsh realities or British rule. I have also had the experience of seeking employment and schooling under the British system of things and I can tell you that it was no bed of roses.

        • Thanks for understanding Kian. Some are prepared to forget but I think that once you exploit others for personal gain it is morally and ethically wrong. As for Stephen, Sat has been asking for compensation as far back as I can remember. Your statement seem to indicate no collective voice. Perhaps that is so but there is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water.

          Professor Beckles statements were inclusionary and I admire his forthright approach to this sensitive issue. Collectively the Caribbean population is about 7 million so compensation considering the exchange rate will not break the Bank of England. The indo population in the Caribbean is less than 2 million. To compensate indentured laborers descendants will cost the British less than $100 million pounds. A paltry sum. Knowing how Indians think many will refuse it.

          I say we support Professor Beckles request and make the Brits pay for labour that was exploited for the development of the British economy.

  • “I suggest that the claim for reparations is typical of African culture and value system.”…….This statement I find very insulting and arrogant because it flies in the face of the hypocrisy of what is being sold as “hard work” by the Indians and laziness by the African. It is a narrative fed by white arch conservative propaganda to stifle African advancements and growth. With the advent of having an Indian government the writer is claiming in effect, a de facto culture of two separate Trinidads, one African and one Indian. He further adds injury by contending that “I have no problem with that because this is their right and their entitlement to interpret the past as they see best.” When black intellectuals allow disrespect and arrogance towards our people to go unchallenged, as depicted by this writer, it encourages the kind of generalities that fortifies this kind of hatred and subtleties that create the stereotypes that carry the negative connotations, especially when it can be seen through the behavior of members of the race who commit atrocities. Slavery was real and cruel to a whole race of people and when one can take it upon himself, to demean a course of correction for the bad and inhuman treatment meted out to them he is in fact showing a mean spirited attitude to one whom he deems inferior. It is what we are seeing in the present government. A multi-billion dollar Indian contractor gets over 100 acres of government land free. Does the writer want to convince that he worked hard for that too?

    • This statement is so fundamental and pervasively accurate but without any of the negative imputations that you have impulsively drawn from the keen observation that concluded that Africans also have and possess and reflect a cultural baggage and value system that is part and parcel of their ancestral memory that slavery and colonialism could not erase nor replace.

      • BULL! You have the capacity to express a simple answer not a convoluted expression of words that amounts to nothing. I have followed you as a writer and you say things the way you want to. In this case you have drawn a landscape that you hoped no one would venture to interpret.

  • I am mildly amused by the fact that the enslaved never receieved compensation but the enslavers did (a third party) and now it would appear that every thing will be just dandy if another thisd party benifits instead, particularly if those of the thisd party are trying to imply that they themselvess would have been better off if slavery had never happened. Slavery was an abomination, veryy cruel and demeaning,but the idea that you can justify with a fine is laughable. Apologies for spelling the pad is faulty.2⅔

  • “…I came from the Caribbean to this country as a child; I grew to maturity here; and was educated here in a fine university that has distinguished itself in the Liberal-Progressive pedagogy of the nation…”

    Does Sir Hilary owe a debt of gratitude and appreciation and reparation to the British for the facilities that he enjoyed in Britain from childhood to knighthood?

  • @Kian: Do you have any proof that a multi-billion dollar contract of 100 acres of state land was given to an Indian contractor free? If so, please present the facts to the public of Trinidad and Tobago! We have heard it form Rowley, bu no one has backed it, so if you have the evidence the nation would like to see it. If not, SHUT your trap and STOP spreading rumours! Trinidad has become a rumour factory now. People say things for political mileage, we do not know if it is true, but we take them and run with them. PUT UP OR SHUT UP! Those of us who want peace for Trinidad and Tobago are trying of the nonsense! We do not even know what is true anymore.

    • “We do not even know what is true anymore.” You are so right! everything in Trinidad is in a state of convolusion because good has become bad, right is now wrong, white might not be white (may be beige), evil has replaced caring and we can’t trust what we hear, read or spell, for the answer might dispel all truths. We need to get back to a state of normalcy whereby we can understand each other whilst not necessarily agreeing with each other. We are in a confused state of existence. Maybe we can back track to find out how did we get that way and in the process try to correct the mistakes we made. In the meantime I will NOT PUT UP OR SHUIT UP!

  • Please my indian ancestors were treated no better than slaves and are entitled to compensation. Kian and Kangal have no idea how dehumanizing indentureship was to our ancestors. Early in the morning they had to report to duty and labour in the hot sun throughout the day. There was a man dress with whip and “tall boots” who physically assaulted those who did not work fast or hard enough. Of course their hands were damaged from the constant motion of cane cutting. They had to bear the aches and pain from back breaking labour.

    My ancestral history dates back to 5 generations. Four generations of compensation I am entitled to, I would say around $1 million pounds to my family including siblings would be reasonable compensation for years of unpaid toil. That is a paltry sum because labour was for 365 days sometimes up to 12 hours each day. I will be pursing my portion.

    Kangal can speak for himself not for me or my family….

    • Interesting. Now; for those of mixed race, how is the calculation going to fathom out? Please do not forget the Chinese, and other races that worked the land. I wish to separate myself from this reparation altogether. The Colonialists did what they did and we literally see Empires of yesterday witling down before our eyes. We see subcontinents of India, Japan, China, Brazil coming into mini empires of their own without importing any slaves nor labourers. That does not mean they do not have inherent problems of their own. For those of us who are visionary we can take the little we do have and multiply it many fold utilizing the wisdom we have been blessed with from the Almighty.

      • For clarification I am addressing the issue of indentured labourers in the Caribbean, numbering less than 2 million. I don’t think you understand the compensation issue. It is for those who toiled in the sugar estates, their descendants. It would not be too hard given today’s computer systems to identify those deserving of compensation. As for ethnic mixing I don’t see how that factor into the equation. That is a normal people base activity.

        The British would develop a questioniare that identify requirements based on genetic history. Those desirious of receiving compensation would have an 18 month window to fill out those applications. After than the information verified and compensation dispersed. That should not be too hard to do…

      • We see subcontinents of India, Japan, China, Brazil coming into mini empires of their own without importing any slaves nor labourers.

        Brazil did not have slaves????? Really!

  • Hereunder are what I consider to be a recitation/identification of some of the religious, moral, economic.psychological and philosophical bases of the arrival legacy as composed by Raviji
    In a Pichkaree Song sung by Mrs Seeromanie Maharaj-Naraynsingh
    (Comments in Bold)
    MISSION TO THE CARIBBEAN
    Jao, Jao, Jao
    Go ah sending you on a mission to the Caribbean
    (This specific odyssey is God-Inspired)
    Ja, ah sending you on mission to the Caribbean
    1.
    There is a mystery behind indenture history
    Ha Sahib take we, from the ancient country
    Beyond Kalapaani, only half the story
    But a secret voice was singing that they need you
    (Near collapse of the sugar-industry)
    So ah sending you
    Ja ah sending you on a mission to the Caribbean
    Go ah sending you on a mission to the Caribbean
    2.
    Le crook awr cutlass beta, kodari owr hasawa
    Chalanee to chalay chine, ayk bole Gangaa paanee
    Be stronger than the pain, build up the land again
    Giving is yuh Dharma, Building is yuh Karma
    Go ah sending you.
    3.
    Plant kitaree, sweetening the country
    Aam owr dhaan garin in the Karanee plain
    Peepal, neem owr bael pataa, Tulasi and paan ke pataa
    Charhawe on Charti Mataa water from your shining lotaa
    Go ah sending you
    4.
    Take the Ramayan to the Caribbean
    ( To establish Caribbean Hinduism)
    Jhandees so colourful, songs so joyful
    (Cultural Persistence)
    Every creed and race, help them find their equal place
    Go build ah Rainbow nation, fulfill my ambition
    Go ah sending you
    5. Sow good sanskaar. In every parivaar
    Strength and intelligence, courage and obedience
    Work with a hundred hands, give with a thousand
    KRINVANTU VISHVAM AARYAM
    Your eternal mission
    Go ah sending you ( by RAVIJi)
    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    Definition of the Concept of Indian Arrival in Trinidad and Tobago

    Besides being a re-enactment of the actual historical arrival it has emerged as a cohesive mobilization/remembrance of the pitris vehicle geared to reflect the degree of achievement/emancipation of the Indian community:
    • From the dehumanizing and challenging effects of the system of indenture-ship and subsequent rural agricultural isolation;
    From statal neglect manifested in education, health care and lack of equal opportunity for employment and training in the public sector;
    • In eliminating the hurdles to subsequent integration and acceptance into the wider society post-1917 while still preserving their innate cultural personality and hybrid distinctiveness after 167 years of active participation in and contribution to the socio-economic life of T&T and
    • Maintaining unbroken cultural interaction and linkages with the civilization of the Indian sub-continent that constituted part of their jahajee bundle; and
    • that provided the daily solace, respite, sanctuary and spiritual platform after working in the sun and the rain in the cane-fields of Caroni under the eyes of the sahibs; and
    • conquest of socio-economic adversity, illiteracy and emergence unto the entrepreneurial sphere without incurring the enmity of the Sahib via the education initiated by the Canadian Mission to the Indians (CMI) and adherence to Indian sub-continental work ethic.

    • Hinduism is not a mission base religion….

      • What did Swami Vivekananda do in bringing Hinduism to the West at the Chicago Conference? Was this not a mission to the West Mamooji?

        • Yes Hinduism at its core is an Indian religion. Sure there are off shoots like the Hari Rama movement along with ganja smoking gurus that attracted Westerners during the 1960s. As for that conference an explanation of Hindu theology that is basically impossible because the doctrine is not fixed constantly evolving. For instance Sai Baba became more important to Hindus over Rama. why?

  • I always find the hubris which some assume the prerogative to define the experience of Africans while always shouting loudly that theirs is theirs to define. It is indicative of the slave master mentality, this arrogant argument that always erupt with insane antipathy around any issue concerning Africans.

    Like the Honorable Gentleman pointed out, it is rational to conclude that Africans might have inculcated aspects of the racist behaviors to which they were exposed. But they are hardly likely to be more susceptible to the influence of this negative, than those who came to these shores with thousands of years in entrenchment in a belief system, and with the enduring influence of religious beliefs and interpretations lendng a cultural foundation to the attitudes.

  • Balancing the Scales of Reparatory Justice
    I regard myself as an objective and detached observer of the legitimate current claim being prosecuted across the Caribbean for European nations that participated in the infamous Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to pay reparations to the descendants of those who suffered this inhumanity in the hands of the slave-masters/traders.
    I have assessed the role that Britain played in the education/socialisation of Sir Hilary Beckles based on his own admissions in the Committee Room of the House of Commons Statement. Does Sir Hilary owe a debt of gratitude, appreciation and indeed reparation to the British for the facilities that he enjoyed in Britain from childhood to knighthood? Must the facilities and social, economic and educational mobility made available to and career-changing to the descendants of the slaves under the aegis of the British Government be factored into the reparation determination process?
    He is Chairman of the Caricom Commission brainstorming the idea leading to the formalization and concretization of the final presentation for the argumentation on behalf of the plaintiffs geared to achieve expeditious delivery of reparatory justice. This reparation should be adequate, effective and timely having regard to the enormity of the crime against humanity from Africa and the need to bring closure to this sordid chapter in world social and economic history.
    I am a bit concerned and challenged in identifying the mechanics to be applied in the quantification and the computation of the compensatory package; how it will be distributed seeing that the actual victims of this crime against humanity have passed on; and what legal arguments can be mobilized to rationalize and identify the descendants as the beneficiaries and whether sums are to be tax-free seeing that they represent compensation ex post facto.
    Having established this frame of reference I am wondering whether the British Government that was the architect of both slavery and indentureship can invoke and put a price on the the granting of independence, sovereignty, ownership and control collectively speaking of the real estate of its former colonies including the built environment/infrastructure, systems of democratic Westminster governance and justice, to the collectivity of Africans, Indians, Chinese, French, Portuguese, mixed races and request that the economic value of this factor be placed on the scales of distributive or reparatory justice or of equity and justice?
    Can the granting of reparatory/ monetary justice remove the scars and the wounds inflicted by the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade/system of colonialism after the money is finished?

    • Your concerns are legitimate and fair, in reading Sir Hillary’s presentation it would appear that the case case for reparations was not just based on monetary compensations but one asking for acknowledgement, ownership and pointing to the role the British and Europe played by compensating slaveowners and the slaves themselves paid by asking them to work freely towards their freedom. The propagators (Britain and Europe) used monetary stipends to get the free labour. The descendants of slaves are just as concerned by the ill-effects suffered by the degradation, psychological and mental implications of the slavery system. No amount of money can compensate this kind of abuse, but acknowledgement and instituting some kind of redress to correct some of the history will definitely go a long way.

  • @Kian: I meant PUT UP OR SHUT UP if you do not know what you are saying is true, because then that would mean you are one of the persons fueling the misconceptions and that would make you just like the rest of them. By the way, you need to replace the word, “we” with “I” and ask yourself, how did I get here? Stop assuming all Trinis are in the bacchanal! You came on here bandying about something you do NOT know to be true and giving the impression you have the evidence, but up to now you have not addressed the erroneus statement you made. You said. 100 acres of state land was given to an Indian businessman and I, not being Indian thought you made the statement in order to be racist, especially since Rowley NEVER mentioned the race of the person, nor who he was. I can only imagine what Mr. Kengal thought when he read your reply. It is people like you, who are helping to feed the hate and rumours going around T&T. Rowley uttered something for political mileage and up until now nobody has backed it. It is just a blasted shame T&T is getting these scums of the earth for leaders.

  • Ann S.
    You are entitled to your facts the same way I (yes I use the I word) am entitled to mine. Thats democracy for you. You can prove me wrong if you want to. Go ahead state your case against what I said…….. By the way I do not get involved with tit for tats. Bye Ann S.!

  • How do we treat with those Indo and Afro-Caribbean descendants who have migrated to metropolitan countries and may have taken up the nationalities of these countries including those involved in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade?
    The case for the plaintiffs has to as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar?

    • Give them their due, why is it necessary to live in TnT and receive repatriation money only? The connection is clearly my ancestors labored then I should receive some compensation for their years of endless toil. Does not matter where I live.

      • What about the contract that they signed prior to arriving in Trinidad that specifies the terms of their indentureship and compensation including their return passage.
        If a descendant is living in the UK and has British nationality then the T&T Government cannot undertake consular functions on his/her behalf even if he/she has dual nationality.

    • The question arises that since the author Sir Hilary Beckles achieved a lot in England, would he nominate himself to be the recipient of reparatory payment advocating to be the son of a slave? The mechanics for distribution would be a nightmare. Assuming such payments were to be made to T&T, then I believe that money should be handled by the government to specifically develop tourism and museums as an expose and tribute to the descendants of slaves and indentured labourers in T&T. Reference to the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa http://www.historymuseum.ca/home.

  • Reparations for Afro descendants are a tricky buisness. There many people who may physically look and or have African features who don’t care to be called or be African. So, just for argument sake, there is reparation. Will these same people refuse to their portion. And then there a lighter skinned Afro descendants who have identified with their “Africaness/Blackness” all there lifes. Should they be denied their portion because they don’t look black enough. Should someone like Michael Manley recieve reparations. The Brits, French, Spanish and Portuguese did a fine one us.

  • @Kian: So what exactly do you think you are doing here with Mr. Kangal and others? Steups!!! By the way, if you consider blurting out an accusation in public for which you have no proof (libel) an OPINION, good for you! Right now I am getting a mental image of where you will end up with your OPINIONS in the not too distant future, if you have not already. I am NOT SAYING your statement is not true, maybe Mr. Rowley is able to prove it, but you cannot, so coming from you it is nothing, but pure propaganda!!!

  • “…the British state forcefully extracted wealth from the Caribbean resulting in its persistent, endemic poverty…”
    As far as I can see Britain owned colonies/islands in the Caribbean including Belize and British Guiana when might was right and represented the public order of the period- that is the age of imperialism and European fight for colonies.
    I do not know how British forcefully extracted wealth from the Caribbean when the Caribbean was part of Great Britain. This was their country and Caricom governments cannot continue to lay blame to the British for the parlous state of the economies- for poverty. The land is developed by the British with its infrastructure. The problem is the tin gods who ruled over the colonies post-independence and contributed nothing to development resulting in perennial poverty, Even so the Caribbean people are still better off than the Africans of Africa from a standard of living/literacy/democracy/mobility view-points.

  • The only way you can come to that conclusion is if in your mind the cultural humanity of those who were brought across the oceans and forcefully deprived of those understandings you and those of your group take for granted were of no value. That their centuries of labor and sacrifices were of no value. And while of course this should not be surprising coming from you and your ethnic posse of supremacist, it still astonishes the civilized mind.

    I continue to argue that people like you Mr. Kangal, carry forth into the 21st century, all of the odious racist attitudes of the colonials who obdurately refused to accept that the humanity of Africans had the same level of value as that of the rest of racial and ethnic world. And it behooves Africans, especially those in this part of this part of the world, not to separate your thinking from that which presided over the managers of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

    The tin Gods who ruled over these territories after the British departed might have had their faults, human faults that can be extrapolated all over the world. But even with those faults, the one redemptive characteristic that separate them from people like you, is the fact that you represent a repository of the most odious and awful aspects of their oppressive experiences.

    So take your shots, we do not care. We have been exposed to thinking like yours for an eternity. It is not strange or surprising to many of us. For those in the African fold who might find it strange and surprising, this ignorance is a product of their misconceived assumptions that the kind of supremacist ideology behind the experience of their ancestors was exclusive to white Europeans. Whether it is Guyana, Fiji or T&T, there has always been an enthusiastic assembly of aspirants eagerly striving to replace the slave master in the social stratification of these nations.

  • If I am not mistaken this address was delivered in Committee Room 14 and not in the legislature of the House of Commons before the Speaker and members of Parliament. Technically speaking it was not to the House of Commons as it is made up to be. It may have been a non-House of Commons matter or business

  • So if a Colonial Power engage in holocaustis enslavement of peoples and the proceeds go towards the development of their homeland, and their private holdings, they are doing nothing wrong because it was their nation. Was Hitler right to do what he did because Germany was his country. He probably would have been grateful to have you alongside his favorite propagandist to mold the rational you disgustingly apply to rationalize the enslavement of Africans.

    The one thing I am grateful of today is the development of the internet that allows us to see the macabre racist and supremacist tripe that comes out of the Kangal’s of T%T. Africans will wake up one day in this Caribbean territory and realize that they might have gotten rid of the British and other colonial slave masters, but that there are budding aspirants that were born in these territories, and their venal prejudices are even more rabid than that which they experience under the Colonial Master. But they will be no repeating of that experience, because day in and day out we are being educated about what lies waiting in our midst. Never again, never again.

  • I have had people share this on FB, and I will share it in every blog that I know including those frequented by Africans. Africans need to understand how viciously racist many Indians in the Caribbean are. And Kangal has sunk to new depths in his racist views about Africans

  • Following are excerpts from the address of the Hon PM at the Emancipation Dinner held last Thursday night:
    1…. As you know across the Caribbean, the lobby for reparations for slavery and native genocide is growing.T&T along with several other Caricom nations, have established national reparations committees to pursue amends..
    2.This is therefore a good moment for me to re-affirm my support…as you document the long-term effects of the enslavement of our African ancestors….”
    She did not include indentured labourers in the claim for reparations unlike Hilary Beckles in his address.

  • Reparations are for slavery, not indentureship. Hilary Beckles, like many other Africans in the Caribbean, tend to be more sympathetic of the indentured experiences of Indians than Indians are about the holocaustic experience of Africans. So much so that they advance the skewed concept of equivalency when they came cultural intacto, and today retai their naming identities among other things. But of course since the operate from an equal and more equal more paradigm in terms the value they place on their humanity and the lesser value they place on the humanity of Africans, of course such distinction will have no significance in their thinking.

    When you come from centuries or cultural and religious traditions in which human superiority and inferiority is embraced with a fervor that would have been resented by the authors of the rationalization for African Enslavement, those kinds of inverse proportional ethnic ego masturbatory concepts cannot be wiped away so easily.

    Indians do not exactly flock to be counted when Africans are confronting racial discrimination against the black and brown peoples of the world. Generally, if it involves incidents and actions that specifically target Africans, they are more likely than not to side with the oppressing class. Yet when Africans prevail they line to up to reap and enjoy the benefits of rights and freedoms won, even when they were on the wrong side of the battle. And Africans need to begin to articulate these realities, and stop being guilt tripped into kowtowing to the perspective that it is their obligation to fight battles for those who do not give a heck about them.

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