I see further disservice to the Caricom-led international movement for Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery coming from the most recent statement by Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Keith Rowley, current Chairman of Caricom.
On Wednesday at the Caricom 32nd Intersessional Heads of Government Meeting, Dr Rowley said inter alia:
“Colleagues, globally, the issue of Reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery continues to find a place on our agenda and is gaining momentum. The Caricom Reparations Commission (CRC) has been at the forefront of this social justice movement and the Region’s Ten-Point Action Plan, which links reparatory justice to economic and social development, has been a guiding light to many human rights and social justice groups around the world.
“I take this opportunity to applaud the CRC on its pioneering work. Many of us have recognised that the road to reparatory justice is likely to be long and arduous.
“However, we must stay the course. To this end, Trinidad and Tobago has recommitted itself to assist the Community in this regard and as a first step has appointed Dr Heather Cateau, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education of The University of West Indies, St Augustine, as its new chairperson to our reconstituted National Committee on Reparations”.
The cavalier manner in which a new head has been announced is less a slight to me and more a disrespect to the entire international movement for Reparations. In addition, after six years in office the PNM administration has said not a mumbling word about the International Decade for People of African Descent, which ends in 2025.
Look at our timeline of meetings with the administration. Having been appointed by Cabinet in 2014 we looked toward to renewed instructions following the change of administration in 2015.
Starting September 8, 2015, the head of the TTNCR appealed by letter and phone calls for the GORTT to give us direction. I was advised by some colleagues, at one point, to have all members resign and /or to form a Non-Government Organisation.
This I opposed since the then acting permanent secretary Ms Frances Seignoret, stated that we should not resign pending further instructions, which never came,
It took one year before we met with Senator Dennis Moses Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs on September 12, 2016. The minister promised to meet with us one month later. It never happened.
Following instructions by letter from the Prime Minister, we met with Minister Fitzgerald Hinds on September 12, 2017.
Since then, there has been there has been no feedback.
On December 16, 2020 I met with Senator Dr Amery Browne and PS Ms Reita Toussaint, but again, there has been no feedback.
Fortunately, the TTNCR had continued meeting and presenting reports to the administration because we have a passion for advancing the cause of Reparations.
But does the Prime Minister recognise how much time has been lost by GORTT the because of its previous disengagement from Reparations since the advent of his administration in 2015?