CARICOM’s push for reparations for slavery and genocide might be an expensive undertaking, but this is not the main concern of its mastermind, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
“… this is a historic exercise and we have to find the resources to address it,” he told reporters in Kingstown last week, after all his CRICOM colleagues signed on to the reparations effort.
Gonsalves said some persons would work and be paid through the University of the West Indies.
Lawyers, and other professional will have to be hired and individual countries should have to make payments to a common pool, he further said.
“What I worry more about is not the absence of resources but former colonial population seeking to divide our populations, our leaderships across the region and confuse them and have us fighting among our selves over something which we should not be fighting among ourselves about and therefore weakening the strength and legitimacy of the case which we may have,” Gonsalves said.
“Right now, I would be very surprised if former colonial powers are not already working with persons in the region, in the media, in the parliaments, in political parties, to undermine or derail this venture.
“And it will be done in different ways: complete opposition, then it I will be, yes, it is a good idea but this thing ain’t going nowhere, not in my lifetime or in the next. You will get all sorts of tendencies and trends to confuse people,” Gonsalves further said.
He said that at their meeting this month in Trinidad and Tobago, CARICOM heads agreed on an approach — which is to not have confrontation but a development conversation with reparation central to repairing the relationship.
“So, it is a non-confrontational but very frank and robust approach to come to some conclusions,” Gonsalves said.
Regional leaders also agreed broadly speaking on a legal approach.
The meeting agreed that CARICOM will approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) under the International Convention for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination.
But if “good faith negotiations” bear fruit, the parties would not end up in the ICJ, Gonsalves said.