Regional reparations conference opening moved to Victoria Park
September 10, 2013

Regional reparations conference opening moved to Victoria Park

Persons in St Vincent and the Grenadines will have a chance to learn more about the quest for reparations for slavery and native genocide during a three-day conference, which is scheduled to begin next weekend.{{more}}

A regional Reparations Conference is expected to be held here from September 15 to 17.

In an interview on the television programme Unrendered on IKtv, Joseph Delves, a member of the local reparations committee, stated that some heads of government are expected to attend the opening ceremony.

“We are hoping to have quite a few heads of government here,” Delves said.

“I believe that the prime minister of Barbados has confirmed so far, but we expect to have several, since the CARICOM group that is dealing with reparations has about five heads”.

Delves said Sunday’s opening ceremony at Victoria Park is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m, and will include cultural presentations.

Additionally, remarks are scheduled to come from the Prime Minister of Barbados Freundel Stewart and the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves, while the feature address will be made by chairman of Jamaica’s National Reparations Committee Dr Verene Shepherd.

Delves said legendary Jamaican artiste, Neville O’Riley Livingston, also known as Bunny Wailer, will perform at the opening ceremony.

“We are also in discussions with Bunny Wailer who has…expressed an interest to come so we’re finalizing that,” Delves said.

Furthermore, Delves noted that Wailer has also expressed an interest in making a presentation on one of the scheduled days of the conference.

“Bunny has an organization that he promotes around the world that deals with a variety of issues relevant to Rastafari and so… he also wants to make presentation. He, himself wants to make a presentation and there are two other members of his delegation that want to make presentations. We’re currently looking at that to see how we can fit that in,” he said.

On Monday, at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown, an open session will be held in the morning, during which various speakers will also address the topic of reparation. In the afternoon, organizations from around the Caribbean will also be able to share their experiences along the path to reparation.

“We will have an address from Dr Hilary Beckles again,” Delves said.

“We will also have various regional reparations committees presenting on what their experiences have been”.

Delves noted that persons and other reparation organizations from countries such as Suriname, the United Kingdom and the United States, have shown an interest in attending the conference.

A closed session will be held on Tuesday and will be addressed by a legal firm from the United Kingdom, who will speak on ways in which they think the matter can be dealt with from a legal perspective.

“This really is quite a substantial conference. It’s going to be very exciting,” the local reparations committee member said.

“We have a written agenda on what we want to do…but of course, these can be adjusted and amended once we discuss these issues with our brothers and sisters from around the Caribbean”. (BK)