News Releases

One-day symposium launches the Centre for Reparation Research at The UWI

For Release Upon Receipt - October 6, 2017


The University of the West Indies (UWI) announces the official launch of the recently established Centre for Reparation Research (CRR), the first of its kind in the academy. The launch event will be held at The UWI Mona Visitors’ Lodge & Conference Centre, Jamaica on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 starting at 5:30 p.m. It will feature keynote speaker, Ms. Samia Nkrumah, daughter of the late President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. Several leaders of national reparation committees from across the CARICOM region are expected to be in attendance.

The launch will be followed by an exhibition of art and artifacts from the slavery era and an all-day symposium on October 11 at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge & Conference Centre.  Titled “Post-Independence Cross Roads: Economic Growth, Sustainable Societies and Reparatory Justice”, this symposium will interrogate key issues such as—Who should clean up the colonial mess left at the time of independence? Can there be sustainable development of the Caribbean without reparatory justice and what historical lessons can we draw from the widespread destruction of some Caribbean islands by the recent hurricanes? The discourse, which runs from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. encompasses a lineup of notable speakers including The UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles; Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. The Hon. Ralph Gonsalves; Programme Manager, Culture & Community Development at CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Hilary Brown as well as Professors Verene Shepherd, Horace Campbell, Carolyn Cooper, Opal Palmer Adisa, and Brian Meeks; Dr. Julius Garvey; Dr. Michael Witter; Dr. Joyce Hope Scott; Sister Nanny; Ras Ika; Emprezz Golding, and others.

The symposium is open to the public and free of charge to local particpants. To register, call 876-970-2646, email or visit

According to Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, “This conference is informed by the question: Can the Caribbean achieve economic development without reparatory justice? The economics of reparation will take centre stage in a requiem mass to Irma-Maria, as the region intensifies its call for reparation as a development plan. Heads of governments, constituted as CARICOM, have written to those European states enriched by Caribbean slavery, calling for an international summit to discuss reparations as a Marshall Plan, but responses have been muted. On October 10, we will launch the Caribbean Centre for Reparation Research in order to professionally prepare the evidentiary basis of the claim.”

The creation of the CRR is in fact a direct response to CARICOM’s mandate to The UWI—at its 34th Meeting of Heads of Government in July 2013—to collaborate with other Caribbean universities to establish the research institute as a vehicle for research and public advocacy. Commenting on the role of the Centre, Director of the CRR, Professor Verene Shepherd said, “The Centre for Reparation Research will support the CARICOM Reparatory Justice Movement, build awareness and conduct research which will advance the claim to Europeans for reparation for native genocide, African enslavement, deceptive indenture, colonialism and its legacies. The CRR will primarily be 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, in collaboration with advocates from grassroots to governments.”

On October 12, Vice-Chancellor Beckles and Professor Shepherd will host a press conference, beginning at 11:00 a.m. at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge & Conference Centre. On this day, traditionally noted as “Columbus Day” and celebrated as a National Day in Spain, there will be a declaration in solidarity with the indigenous people of the Caribbean region who, beginning on October 12, 1492, were subjected to a protracted campaign of genocide initiated by Spain. In reality, for the native peoples of the Caribbean, it is viewed as Holocaust and Reparation Day.

Interestingly, in Trinidad and Tobago, October 13 will also be celebrated as a one-off national holiday in recognition of the First Peoples of the islands.


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Irma-Maria: A Reparations Requiem for Caribbean Poverty

Centre for Reparation Research at The UWI

About the Centre for Reparation Research

The focus of the Centre for Reparation Research (CRR) at The University of the West Indies (UWI) is threefold: to promote research on the legacies of colonialism, native genocide, enslavement and indentureship in the Caribbean, and how to bring justice and positive transformation to these legacies; 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; and to promote advocacy for reparatory justice by building a capacity for consultancy to CARICOM, Caribbean states, the UN and other relevant institutions, public awareness raising, and supporting activism for reparatory and decolonial justice from grassroots to governments. For more information on the CRR visit

About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in BarbadosJamaicaTrinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)