Gov’t to Hold Roundtable Discussions on Reparation


Come August 17, the government will commence a series of roundtable discussions, which are aimed at arriving at a national position on the issue of reparation. August 17, 2007 marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of national hero, Marcus Garvey.
Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, who made the announcement during her Budget presentation in the House of Representatives yesterday (May 1) said that, “these discussions will comprise representatives from a small number of groups, including Rastafarians, the traditional church, students and our parliamentarians.”
The matter of reparation, she noted, has been kept on the agenda over the years through strong advocacy of groups such as the Rastafarians.
“It is particularly significant that in this year, when we mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, that some meaningful attention is being given to this pressing and burning issue,” Mrs. Simpson Miller stated.
She said that national unity and consensus can be derived from the discussions. “I believe this is one area in which we can get genuine national unity and consensus, and can find creative, practical, honourable and principled mechanisms to redress the historical injustice,” she added.
The House of Representatives recently began debate on a motion brought by Mike Henry, Member of Parliament for Central Clarendon, which called for Parliament to develop a common position on the impact of slavery and the matter of reparation for the countries of the displaced descendants of slavery.

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