By Dr The Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
On July 31, 2012, on the eve of the 174th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the former “British” West Indies, I submitted to the Parliament of St. Vincent and the Grenadines a written statement entitled: “The End of Slavery in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Our Commemoration in 2012”. On August 01, 2018, our Caribbean marks the 180th anniversary of slavery’s abolition which formally occurred on August 01, 1838.
It is opportune, in advance of the next sitting of Parliament in August 2018, that I again deliver to our Parliament another statement in commemoration of slavery’s termination in the “British” West Indies, with special reference to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This statement incorporates, as an Appendix, a shortened and edited version of the original statement of which I made on July 31, 2012, to Parliament.
This 2018 parliamentary statement is prefaced by an “Essential Discourse” which summarises some salient facts and reflections about slavery’s end in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, their relevance to our country’s present and future development, and the general push for reparations by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and activists globally.
I advise that this Statement to Parliament be also read in conjunction with three other essays authored by me entitled respectively: (i) “Preliminary Notes on the Quantification of Reparations from the British for Lands Stolen, for Genocide and Forcible Deportation of the Garifuna People, and for Enslavement of Africans in St. Vincent and the Grenadines”; (ii) “A Review Essay of Hilary Beckles’ Black Debt: Reparations for Caribbean Slavery and Genocide”; and (iii) “Road Map for Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery in the Caribbean”.
These three essays are contained in my book entitled: The Case for Reparatory Justice (Strategy Forum Inc, SVG, 2014) which was published to coincide with the apt elaboration of the central theme of “Recognition, Justice and Development”, launched on December 10, 2014, at the United Nations, regarding the International Decade for People of African Descent.
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