Concept Paper Centre for Reparation Research (CRR) UWI
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The Centre for Reparation Research (CRR) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) was mandated by Heads of government of CARICOM at the Thirty-Fourth Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in July 2013. The idea for the Centre emerged out of the need to support the CARICOM /Global Reparatory Justice Movement, build awareness, engage in advocacy and conduct research which will advance the claim to Europeans for various forms of reparation for native genocide, African enslavement, deceptive indentureship, colonialism and its legacies.
At that July 2013 meeting, Heads also agreed to establish a CARICOM Reparation Commission (CRC) and National Committees on Reparation in each country to establish the moral, ethical and legal case for the claim for reparation from the former colonial European countries, for the nations and people of the Caribbean Community for native genocide, the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans and a racialised system of chattel enslavement and Asian indentureship. The expectation was that the CRC would comprise the Chairs of the National Committees and a representative of the UWI; and that it would report directly to a Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Reparation, chaired by the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Freundel Stuart.
To date, all directives of CARICOM have been carried out. There are approximately 12 National Reparation Committees/Commissions/Councils whose Chairs/co-Chairs (in the case of Jamaica) are members of the CRC; and the CRC is chaired by Vice Chancellor of the UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles. The three Vice Chairs of the CRC are Professor Verene Shepherd (Jamaica), Mr Jomo Thomas Chambers (St Vincent & the Grenadines and Dr Armand Zunder (Suriname). The CRC hosts Conferences and Seminars; and recently launched a Regional Relay and Youth Rally. The National Committees have all been engaged in a range of activities designed to build public awareness of the issue of reparatory justice.
This Centre, for which a core budget for operations exists, began operation in March 2017.
- Objectives of the CRR:
In addition to supporting the pursuit and implementation of CARICOM’s Reparatory Justice Programme, the CRR is primarily motivated by two other interlocking objectives: to broadly foster awareness around the lasting and adverse consequences of colonialism in the Caribbean and offer practical solutions to halting and reversing them. Both these objectives grow out of an understanding that many of the injustices and adverse effects of colonialism in the Caribbean did not end with formal independence and still need to be addressed and repaired.
- Focus / Strategy
The focus of the Centre is threefold:
- To promote research on (a) the legacies of colonialism, native genocide, enslavement and indentureship in the Caribbean, and (b) how to bring justice and positive transformation to these legacies. The research at the CRR will point to how history continues to reverberate in the present and how it has been influenced by the past. The research will also bear in mind the practical ends of defining problems that are affected by a history of colonialism and where possible recommend solutions to them. So the research focus of the Centre is the rigorous study of colonial legacies and their possible solutions;
- To promote education at the UWI and across Caribbean school systems on the legacies of colonialism, enslavement and native genocide and the need for justice and repair, especially as the CAPE History syllabus now contains a theme on reparation.
- To promote advocacy for reparatory justice by building a capacity for (a) consultancy to CARICOM, Caribbean states, the UN and other relevant institutions (b) public awareness raising, and (c) supporting activism for reparatory and decolonial justice from grassroots to governments.. The capacity of the Centre to promote advocacy should be seen as integral to the practical, solution-oriented and extroverted focus of the CRR. Therefore, the Centre takes very seriously its capacity to act as a consultant, consciousness raiser and even activist on matters of colonial legacies and decolonisation.
- Proposed Structure/Personnel:
The Centre is headed by a Director who is assisted by an Administrative Assistant and a Research Assistant. The CRR will have the guidance of an International Advisory Committee which will serve in a non-remunerative capacity.
The Centre is located in the Regional Headquarters of the UWI and is a Centre entity.