A man who, as a child, learnt about Black Power from Arnhim Eustace says he is now dismayed by the Opposition Leader’s position on reparations.
CARICOM leaders at their summit in Trinidad and Tobago in July supported Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ call for the formation of a Reparations Commission to seek compensation from Britain for native genocide and slavery.
Eustace has said that while he understands the arguments surrounding reparation seeking redress is not a priority at this time.
However, the man, who did not identify himself when he spoke during the open forum of Professor Sir Hilary Beckles lecture in Kingstown last week, said he agrees that now is the appropriate time for the conversation.
He said that when he was a student at the Anglican School in Kingstown in 1958, he heard a discussion about Ralph Gonsalves and Jamaica but was young and did not fully understand what was being discussed.
The man further said that in 1969, there were “certain developments”.
“I remember Mr. Eustace used to be under the market talking Black Power and that inspire a lot ah we in Anglican school.
“I was thrown out when I pass to go Standard 6 because of this Black Power thing. I didn’t know Ralph Gonsalves identify with this Black Power then.
“… When Mr. Eustace was called to run as a minister, to get in politics, I meet him by the bank and I told him that is a good thing because two leftist, or two radicals, going lead the two party.
“… and I tell you I was dismay when I hear Mr. Eustace say he don’t ha’ no time with reparations and he wouldn’t be around to inherit that.
“But the conversation ha’ to start. The conversation start in the ‘70s from the radical them outside. We get independence so this generation of leaders, whether in opposition or government, them is the right people to start the conversation and I personally believe all the leaders in the Caribbean, why the reparations was agree so easily, is that most of them come from the same generation of the rebels, the Black Power rebels. And I am dismay for his comment…”
Professor Beckles, who is Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, spoke on the title of his latest book, “Britain’s Black Debt: Reparations for Caribbean Slavery and Native Genocide”.
Both Eustace and Gonsalves were among the audience.