The Jamaica Foundation for 'headucation' and social change will shortly prepare a paper to be included in a submission to Parliament, based on the outcome of the seminar it hosted recently on 'The Relevance of Marcus Garvey and Reparations in Today's Jamaica', at the world renowned Liberty Hall at King Street, downtown Kingston.
The all-day seminar was addressed by 12 prominent social scientists, lawyers and writers: Yasus Afari, Miguel Lorne, Earl Witter the Public Defender, Mandingo, Beverly Hamilton, Louis Moyston, Mutabaruka, Professor Cecil Gutzmore, Dr. Basil 'Bagga' Wilson, Anthony Gifford, Flo O'Connor, and Professor Rupert Lewis. A brainstorming session involving the over 300 people who attended, followed the speakers and offered suggestions on how reparation could be implemented. Julian 'Jingles' Reynolds was the master of ceremony. Cultural presentations were given by Cherry Natural, Ray Sennon, and Ras Mandito.
Excerpts from the British documentary Empire Pays Back by Dr. Robert Beckford, a theologian with Jamaican roots, who is also a lecturer at Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom, closed the day's reasoning. The documentary identifies and charges several major British companies, institutions and families with profiting from the slave trade, and puts a price of 7.5 trillion for reparations to be paid by Britain to the descendants of slaves in the Caribbean.
Dr. Beckford sent a message which read: "Dear delegates, I submit this film to you as a contribution to the ongoing struggle for reparation for slavery. My sense is that the African Diaspora in the Caribbean has been far too silent on the matter, and have relegated it to the margins of our social, economic and political engagement with Britain. My hope is that this film will inspire you to do the right thing - sue for reparation."
Some of the over 50 suggestions emerging from the brainstorming session were:
Afrocentric education should be compulsory in the school curriculum.
Debt cancellation and reparation should be dealt with separately.