WASHINGTON D.C.: CARICOM has been petitioned by a group calling itself “Concerned Vincentians at Home and Abroad” to remove St. Vincent & the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves as spokesperson on reparations.
“The purpose of the petition is to respectfully urge you and your colleagues to reconsider, as a matter of urgency, the decision to assign Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, prime minister of Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, as lead advocate for CARICOM’s claim for reparations for indigenous people and descendants of enslaved Afrikans (sic) in the Caribbean,” the group stated in a recent letter to CARICOM Chairman, Antigua & Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
Identifying its members as Dane Bowman, Doug Howard, Luke James, Luzette King, Margaret London and Marlon Mills, the group stated that its contention is two-fold.
“First of all, we believe that Dr. Gonsalves personally is eminently unsuitable to represent us as Afrikans seeking reparations,” the letter stated. “Second, our view is that while we seek reparations from abroad, the leaders of the movement must also focus their efforts on dealing at home with the neo-colonial injustices currently being perpetrated on people of Afrikan descent. Charity, it is said, begins at home.
“Willful economic disenfranchisement of people of Afrikan descent and the dramatic increases in rape and other sexual crimes against women (both being hallmarks of the dehumanization of Afrikans during the time of slavery) are two specific matters of grave concern to Vincentians at home and abroad.”
The group said the leader of the St. Vincent & the Grenadines parliamentary opposition, Arnhim Eustace, “succinctly made this case in parliament during a recent discussion of a motion on reparations”.