Dominica has named a nine-member National Reparations Committee as the island and the rest of the region make moves towards payment of reparations by former colonial European countries.
Damian Dublin has been named chairman of the committee while rest of the members are Dr. Lennox Honychurch, Dr. Alwin Bully, Garnet Joseph (Kalinago Chief), Gregory Rabess, Bernard Imani Shaw (Representative of the House of Nyabinghi), Franklin Georges, Bernard Nicholas and Felix Gregoire.
The terms of reference of the National Reparations Committee are as follows:
1. Disseminate information on the historical, relevant and justifiable aspects of the reparations struggle.
2. Meet with general public and specific target groups/organizations, to obtain views and suggestions.
3. Develop and obtain approval for a work plan to guide the work of the Committee.
4. Recognize the indigenous Kalinago struggle re native Genocide as an integral aspect of the overall Reparations Struggle.
5. Encourage a re- education, re-identification and general resurgence of Black History, Culture and Heritage.
6. Promote teaching of Black History in the schools.
7. Collaborate and liaise with CARICOM Reparations Commission.
8. Establish a functional working relation with other Regional and International Reparations Committees.
9. Include the “Reconciliation” aspect of the overall Reparations Struggle.
10. Report on activities to the relevant agencies.
When CARICOM Heads of government met in Trinidad in July 2013, they agreed to set up National Committees on Reparations, “to establish the moral, ethical and legal case for the payment of reparations by the former colonial European countries, to the native and people of the Caribbean Community, for native genocide, the transatlantic slave trade and a racialized system of chattel slavery.”
The Heads also agreed to establish a CARICOM Reparations Commission comprising the chair of the National Committees and a representative of the University of the West Indies (UWI), which would report directly to a Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Reparations, chaired by Prime Minister of Barbados, Freundel Stuart.
A Reparations Conference was held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines during the period September 15-17, 2013, which brought together representatives of CARICOM Governments and National Reparations Committees, civil society groupings from within CARICOM and its diaspora, the University of the West Indies and individuals who have distinguished themselves in the struggle for reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery in CARICOM member states.
Dominica was represented at this Conference by Dublin.
Last year British newspaper, The Daily Mail, reported that Britain, along with France and the Netherlands are being sued by 14 Caribbean ‘countries which are demanding what could be hundreds of billions of pounds in reparations for slavery.’
According to the report CARICOM, together with Haiti and Suriname, believes that the European governments should pay for the “awful, lingering legacy of the Atlantic slave trade.”
Dominica is a member of CARICOM.
The British law firm, Leigh Day, has been hired to take the matter to court. According to the Mail, Leigh Day recently won compensation for hundreds of Kenyans tortured by the British colonial government during the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950′s.
It is not sure how much money is sought by CARICOM but the Mail reported that “senior officials have pointed out that Britain paid slave owners £20 million when it abolished slavery in 1834. That sum would be the equivalent of £200 billion today.”