Antigua and Barbuda urges reparations for damage done by slavery

Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda

NARRATOR: Antigua and Barbuda has long argued that the legacy of slavery, segregation and racial violence against people of African descent have severely impaired their advancement as nations, communities and individuals across the economic, social and political spectra.

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer told the 66th UN General Assembly that in seeking redress for the injustices suffered by African slaves and their descendants, today's Caribbean and African peoples would advance immeasurably, the process of genuine healing.

TAPE: Those who choose to differ have argued that, unlike victims of the Holocaust or those who have been interred during wars and have subsequently received remunerations, neither the victims nor the perpetrators of slavery are alive today, and it is unfair to hold the descendants of slave-owners responsible for the actions of their ancestors. On this we strongly disagree. However, none should disagree that racism and other legacies of slavery continue to shape the lives of people of African descent; thus reparations must be directed toward repairing the damage inflicted by slavery and racism. That is why we call on former slave States to begin the reconciliation process by issuing formal apologies for the crimes committed by the nations or their citizens over the 400 years of the African slave trade. And to help counter the lingering damage inflicted on generations of peoples of African descent by generations of slave-trading and colonialism, we call on those very States to back up their apologies with new commitments to the economic development of the nations that have suffered from this human tragedy.

NARRATOR: Prime Minister Spencer noted that the United Nations has declared 2011 to be the "International Year for People of African Descent. He said that throughout the year, nations and communities of the African Diaspora have undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at the realization of full enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights, participation and integration in all political, economic, social and cultural aspects of society, the promotion of greater knowledge of and respect for their diverse heritage and culture.

He concluded that the time has come for the peoples of the African Diaspora to begin helping themselves, noting that a key part of this process is the first African Diaspora Summit to be held in South Africa in mid 2012.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 2’36″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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