JG - Repatriation to repair damage - Rastafarians
Repatriation to repair damage - Rastafarians
published: Wednesday July 18, 2007
The Rastafarian movement wants repatriation to be included as part of claims for treatment during slavery,from Britain.
The group raised the issue at a special select committee on reparation for slavery, which met at Gordon House yesterday.
Ambassador of the Almighty Rastafarian Kingdom, Queen Mother Moses, Dr. Marcia Stewart, raised the issue while addressing the Committee. She pointed out that more individuals and groups are reclaiming their African identity.
"Therefore, the committee must consider in the repairing of the damage, reparation and repatriation because even in the legal recourse for the trafficking in human beings, those human beings are restored to wherever they originated from," she argued.
"So, for those who want to return to their land of origin, the continent of Africa, we can't talk about the repairing of the damage without having repatriation as a primary component of the repairing of the damage," she added.
Committee member Mike Henry who had first brought the motion on reparation to the House supported Dr. Stewart's point.
"My procedure as a singular person is to demand that you (Britain) pay the state of Jamaica in economic proportion to what you pay to the slave owners, but that a reservation must be within that for repatriation," he said.
Critical of comments
Meanwhile, former Jamaican envoy to Nigeria, Dudley Thompson, was very critical of comments made in the past by the British Government that there was no evidence that slavery had affected the African and Caribbean Diaspora.
He argued that the political representatives in putting forward their arguments for reparation should show that there is a clear link between the history of slavery and Jamaica's problems.
"Our position, as a joint position of the entire Government of this country, should have as its first ingredient, a national position, where we agree to assert that there is a clear link between the history of slavery and many of Jamaica's problems today including crime, poverty (and) family break down," he said.
On Sunday, during a Pan Afrikan Movement Summit which is now on at the University of the West Indies, Ambassador Thompson demanded an apology from the former colonial power. Yesterday, he again pressed for this apology.
The committee is expected to make a report to Parliament ahead of its dissolution to accommodate the general election next month.