Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Pearnel Charles (left), accepts the relay torch from Karim Murray (fourth right) a participant in the Reparations Youth Baton Relay and Rally. Others observing (from second left) are Deputy Clerk of the Houses of Parliament, Valrie Curtis; President of the Senate, Tom Tavares-Finson; Clerk to the Houses of Parliament, Heather Cooke; and other participants in the relay. The Reparations Youth Baton Relay and Rally is a CARICOM project aimed at building awareness among young people across the region about the issues surrounding the reparations movement and agenda. Photo — JIS Photographer.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Pearnel Charles, says that compensation should be awarded for the many indignities heaped on the country’s ancestors during the period of slavery.
He made the remarks during the Reparations Youth Baton Relay and Rally at Gordon House on November 21.
Mr. Charles argued that the British Government felt that it was just to compensate the planters, who had already benefited from the exploitation of “our ‘foreparents’, by awarding them £20 million, the equivalent of more than £20 billion today”.
“We cannot undo the injustices of slavery, but we can honour our ancestors by demanding that their contribution be properly recognised,” he noted.
“I encourage all Jamaicans not to dismiss the issue of reparations offhand but to try to understand the reasons behind the call and the implications it would have for our society,” he added.
On behalf of Parliament, Mr. Charles commended the CARICOM Reparations Commission, and the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, through the National Council on Reparations (NCR), for staging the Reparations Youth Baton Relay and Rally.
The CARICOM initiative is aimed at building awareness among young people across the region about the issues surrounding the reparations movement and agenda.
Relays have been held in Barbados, Guyana, Suriname, St. Lucia, and Antigua and Barbuda.
The Jamaican leg of the relay commenced on October 10, 2017 and has covered the parishes of St. Thomas, Portland, St. Mary, St. Ann and St. Catherine.