Vincentian PM to keynote reparations symposium

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.
AP Photo/John Minchillo, file

St. Vincent & The Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves is slated to keynote the opening session of Institute of the Black World’s (IBW) conference during a symposium on the “Future of Democracy and Development in Africa and the Caribbean” when it convenes on Oct. 17 at the Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C.

With a panel consisting of City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson of Detroit, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Black America’s leading political-economist and Attorney Nkechi Taifa, senior policy analyst, Open Society Foundations, an action agenda to revitalize the U.S. reparations movement will be discussed.

“Unfortunately, in recent years there has been no significant action or event to keep reparations on the front burner of the discourse about Black interests and aspirations,” Ron Daniels, IBW founder said. “Indeed, the election of the first African American president has likely had a chilling effect in terms of advancing the issue.”

However, he added that “recent developments in the Caribbean have the potential for dramatically changing the tide in the U.S. and Pan African World.”

He said that in July Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders “agreed to the formation of a region-wide Reparations Commission to seek compensation from Europe for native genocide and enslavement of Africans during colonization.”

Subsequent to the historic resolution, PM Gonsalves convened a major Reparations Conference, Sept. 15-17 in St. Vincent.

The delegates he said agreed to form Reparation Commissions in each Caribbean nation. In addition, PM Gonsalves and several Caribbean leaders utilized the annual convening of the United Nations’ General Assembly as a platform to boldly incorporate the demand for reparations into their speeches. “The CARICOM Reparations Initiative is a historic development, a potential game changer, not only in terms of the potential impact on the Reparations Movement in this country, but the prospect of a resurgent progressive Pan-Africanism, with a renewed focus on the root causes of the “underdevelopment” of people of African descent on the continent and in the Diaspora.”

Daniels credited the progressive move and the decision by CARICOM to be significant and attributed to actions spearheaded by Dr. Gonsalves.

The session will be webcasted at www.ibw21.org at 7:15 p.m.

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