PREVIOUSLY, reparation was a concept, now it’s a discussion. We have seen recently where Caricom leaders accepted a 10-point plan for negotiations with the European nations. Among other things, it seeks a formal apology, debt forgiveness, and unspecified financial damages for the persisting “psychological trauma” from the days of plantation slavery. Many whose ancestors were not held as slaves would much rather the topic go away. Unfortunately, we know that just because a topic is difficult or uncomfortable does not mean it should not be dealt with.
Reparation is a principle of law that has existed for many years, referring to the obligation of a ‘wrongdoing’ party to redress the damage caused to the injured party. Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves said: “The awful legacy of these crimes against humanity, a legacy which exists today in our Caribbean, ought to be repaired for the developmental benefit of our Caribbean societies and all our peoples.”
Under international law, “reparation must, as far as possible, wipe out all the consequences of the illegal act and re-establish the situation which would, in all probability, have existed if that act had not been committed.” See Corfu Channel Case, (UK v Albania) Continue reading