Issue of Reparation Must be Part of The National Agenda – Harris


Member of Parliament for Northern Trelawny, Dr. Patrick Harris, has said that the issue of reparation must be part of the national agenda and focus.
“Reparation cannot be about any segment of our population. It has to be about a people and if there are any benefits, it cannot be to any individual, it has to be to a whole people,” Dr. Harris stated yesterday (Feb.13) in the House of Representatives. He was contributing to the debate on a motion recently brought to the House by Member of Parliament for Central Clarendon, Mike Henry, calling 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”.
According to Dr. Harris, reparation involved a combination of moral, economic, and social issues. He noted that while “no money on earth could compensate our forefathers for the degradation and the human suffering they went through” as part of the truth and reconciliation process, “reparation offers all of us the platform to reserve long standing issues and truly begin the healing process that can focus our efforts on the building of our economies and our nation Jamaica.”
Dr. Harris said that while many arguments were being put forward in support of reparation, “the most convincing arguments for reparation must be the economic argument”. “Slavery has become recognized as one of the worst crimes committed throughout the course of human history. Historically, slavery was viewed as a means to achieve cheap labour to enhance development at the cheapest possible cost,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament noted that countries adversely affected by slavery needed to establish a campaign to inform the public about the negative effects of slavery.
“Until Africans and the African Diaspora can all invest our resources to combat the negative effects of slavery, we would not have done our ancestors any justice. We need to resolve the issues over slavery as we all owe it to those who came before us and especially to those who will follow us,” said Dr. Harris.

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