Our Readers' Opinions
October 4, 2013

Reparation watch

Fri Oct 04, 2013

Editor: I am grateful to have this article published in your weekly newspaper. I am indeed obliged to write because of the seemingly controversial direction in which the national and regional reparation boat and its composition are heading. I would like to issue early cautionary advice that a much needed STAND BY compass be taken on board, in case the one being used ceases to function properly on its way.{{more}}

I am closely following the initial reparation proceedings and from what I have observed, it seems as though quite an important part of our true history is not on BOARD. I hasten to say that I have curious and serious concerns to sail with the ship. Would the captain/captains of this vessel carefully read and study the remaining content of my letter before further proceeding out of the harbour?

Before any further charting of the reparation ocean, a total and final re-clarification of the history of the INDIGENOUS CARIB PEOPLE needs to be done. I would also suggest that a thorough official classification and reclassification of the ethnicity and social class and make-up of people be carried out as soon as possible. I am advocating this because it seems as though there is a conflicting interpretation about the real origins of the first inhabitants and who the native owners of St Vincent and the Grenadines were. The question then is, which version of history should the present descendants of the CARIBS, believe? Should they believe the Europeans or that which strangely changed Hairoun to Yuramein. The presently declared reparation pioneers should realize that their low-keyed genocide claim for the real original origins may not be the only consideration to date. The lives and value of their possessions, their lands are priceless compared to £700,000.00.

According to history, we were made to believe that the lives of the NATIVE CARIBS were inhumanely interrupted and torn apart by the European colonizers. Their lands and properties were taken away and they were left to drift like ALICE IN WONDERLAND. This was indeed part of the injustice that was meted out during the introduction of colonialisation and slavery in the CARIBbean. Then, later on, at the end of it, the only portion of their blessed Hairoun that was returned was 29 acres of mainly in-arable, hilly terrain, rudely sliced out and wedged between two white owned estates in the north east end of the island. Yes, that is the same area known as Old Sandy Bay, Roseau and Victoria Villages, extending into Dymou Mountains. That is where the remaining of the already stigmatized ‘Salt’ of this country of 150 square miles were bundled up like animals and left to fend for themselves by the colonial Government and its inheritants (those who took over the reins of governance in the ensuing years).

Little wonder today, we are still being stigmatized and looked down upon with scorn by the rest of the population. Unlike our Dominican native colleagues and the wildlife here, no effort had or has been made whatsoever, to protect and preserve even a small marginal fraction of the purity of this already dwindling race from near extinction. Not so long ago, there was a concerted attempt to conveniently institute a metaphorical genocide to rename everyone as Garifunas. So far this move has not been welcomed by most of us who still remain the true and unfortunate descendants of the Vincentian CARIBbean CARIBS. Because of the present mix-up, most of our real indigenous, brilliant sons and daughters are sidelined, while others are lined up to receive yearly sponsored regional indigenous scholarships. Therefore, some serious consideration must be made soon to investigate our present plight. Remember that we still remain part of the people from above the Yuramein (Why not the Hairoun) Bridge whose poverty and indigent levels are the highest, as was revealed by a recent government survey.

Yes, Mr Chairman of the reparation movement, you need to listen and hear the voices and get to know about the concerns of those crying out in the wilderness and not only those of the seemingly powerful, self-declared Garifunas and Africans alike. In the scheme of things, an effective CARIBbean reparation call and claim cannot start at the centre; it must be from the very beginning.

A Concerned CARIB from the CARIBbean.

NB: An acknowledgement and special thank you must be extended to Dr Adrian Fraser on his writing, “Caribs and Reparation” published in the September 20th issue of the Searchlight Newspaper.