At least four Caribbean heads of governments, legal representatives from Europe, academics from around the world and civil society activists are to attend a key preparatory meeting in Antigua next month to prepare the region’s case to make European nations pay compensation for the Trans Atlantic slave trade officials said this week.
Caribbean governments in July, through Barbadian Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, formally wrote to countries like Britain, Spain, France and The Netherlands demanding a high level summit to set the stage for compensation payments with Europe before the end of this year or early next year to discuss its collective push for reparations. Stuart is the lead regional prime minister on reparations.
Regional reparations activist Eric Phillips said that details about such the Caribbean-Europe conference are to be announced at the Antigua three day meeting starting on Oct. 12.
The meeting is being billed as an experts conference and already representatives from Britain, Denmark, France and other countries have indicated plans to attend, signalling some interest in hearing what the Caribbean has to say about its claim.
In July, British legislators invited, Sir Hilary Beckles, the principal of the University of the West Indies’ Barbados Campus and head of the regional reparations commission to make the case before the British House of Commons on the reparations issue. His presentation was reportedly well received and ended with a standing ovation among MP’s.
Phillips dubbed the invitation from Britain “as an indication” that the case is being taken seriously and that a resolution could be found starting with the high level summit whenever it is held.
He said the leaders who have already hired the British law firm of Leigh Day law firm to push their case. The firm has become famous ever since winning a court ruling that forced Britain to compensate Kenyan tribesmen for genocide against them in the colonial era.
Its representatives have attended several high level meetings with CARICOM and other leaders and thinks there is a case to win here.
The mini mid October summit will refine a 10-point to challenge to Europe including arguments that European planters were compensated for losing slaves after emancipation in the 1830s but not a cent was paid to those enslaved and have also refused to acknowledge that slavery was a crime among other complaints.
He also said that the meeting will refine plans to grow the reparations effort into a global movement that would include Americans Blacks and others living outside the region, saying that there would be no turning back to win compensation for the slave trade.