News Releases

CARICOM Reparations Commission Steps up Advocacy for Reparatory Justice

For Release Upon Receipt - July 6, 2020


Now is the time to move “from apology to action”

The CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC) will convene a virtual media engagement on Monday, July 6, to update regional and international media on recent developments in the CARICOM region’s push for reparatory justice for the historical crimes of native genocide and African enslavement in the Caribbean region.

Led by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) who serves as Chairman, CARICOM Reparations Commission and moderated by and Professor Verene Shepherd, Director, Centre for Reparation Research at The UWI, the event will also feature the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley QC, MP, Prime Minister, Barbados and the Honourable Olivia Grange CD, MP, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Jamaica.

This media engagement comes in the wake of recent public statements of “apology” and “regret” by some European states and a number of British commercial enterprises for their role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and in the 200-plus years’ practice of chattel slavery. The event is open to the viewing public and will be livestreamed on UWItv, via and from 9:30 a.m. JA | 10:30 a.m. AST | 3:30 p.m. BST.

“While we reject so-called ’statements of regret' as inappropriate and insulting, we accept official ’statements of apology' as calls to dialogue in respect of reparatory action. The distinction is known by all, within the context of reparations, and so, once again, we call on the former slave-holding, colonizing states of Europe to work with us to address the urgent need for repairing the lasting damages of slavery on our societies. Europe owes our people a debt and now is the time for that debt to be paid,” said Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.

Over the past several weeks, the world has witnessed massive protests against systemic racism and racial violence which began with the Black Lives Matter Movement in the USA and has spread to dozens of countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. Symbols and monuments of white supremacists have been torn down in several European capitals and protestors have demanded restitution for the crimes of slavery and the ongoing racial oppression of non-white minorities in European countries.

Since 2013, the CARICOM Reparations Commission has been actively pursuing reparations for Native Genocide and African Enslavement, from the former colonizing nations of Europe, namely the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

The Caribbean Community maintains that there is an unpaid and outstanding debt for over 200 years of free labour, that fueled two industrial revolutions and a quantum leap in development in Europe, while simultaneously under-developing the nations of the Caribbean and relegating the majority of its Indigenous people and those of African descent to persistent, intergenerational poverty.

CARICOM is again issuing a strong call to Europe to acknowledge its sordid past, to engage with governments in the region and to implement appropriate forms of redress.




About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies; the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ); The UWI-University of Havana Centre for Sustainable Development; The UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry-Academic Partnership with the University of Coventry and the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research with the University of Glasgow.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019 and 2020, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2018 and 2019. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit


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