Saturday, October 10, 2015. BMG: The Belize Commission Initiative for Justice and Reparations is hosting its second national convention today in Belmopan.
The Reparations campaign is intended, in the word of guest speaker Nuri Muhammad and vice chair of the Commission Cesar Ross, to make the European colonial powers understand the wrongs they committed in the era of slavery and associated crimes against non-white persons (and minority white populations such as the Jews), apologize for those wrongs, and make restitution in order to help lift the non-white populations of the Americas and Asia out of their current situation.
It is not, Muhammad said, a handout or a one-time “make-up” but a structured program specifically to address the issues caused by these crimes.
It was not lost on Ross that today’s convention falls on the first day of the Pan American Day holiday weekend – otherwise known as Columbus Day in “honor” of the Italian/Spanish explorer whose landing in 1492 established the first lasting contact between the Old World and the New – and centuries of exploitation and humiliation of non-white people that continues up to today.
The listed “demands” of the reparations project established by CARICOM include a formal apology from the United Kingdom and related powers, and assistance in establishing economic, educational, health and social programs designed to revive ethnic pride and self-importance, which was destroyed by the attempts to “civilize” native Americans.
This afternoon there will be group sessions intended to formulate Belize’s position on reparations. Prime Minister Dean Barrow said this week that while Belize is part of the CARICOM initiative, he personally believes that the suggested aid package to the region by the U.K. – denied to be a form of reparations – should not be rejected out of hand. He said that he is more anchored in the here and now and efforts to expand the local development agenda.
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