News Releases

Sir Hilary addresses urgent call for economic development through reparatory justice

For Release Upon Receipt - November 5, 2020


Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles addressed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday, November 3, as part of a live, open debate on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace.

The meeting was chaired by His Excellency, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines who holds the presidency of the Security Council for November 2020, and opened with remarks from Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ms Amina J. Mohammed.

With an aim to facilitate the exchange of views about the security impacts of modern day conflict drivers and instability, the open debate gathered delegates from around the world, including government Ministers and International Agency Heads. Sir Hilary was the only University Vice-Chancellor invited to participate in the high level meeting which was carried live on The UWI’s public education platform, UWItv.

In his presentation, he addressed reparatory justice as a development paradigm for Caribbean nations and other nations built upon these legacies, stating, “Injustice anywhere is the seed of instability and violence everywhere. The Caribbean, Africa and its diaspora are calling for the reconciliation of peace within the context of reparatory justice.”

He described the Caribbean as being determined to be “the freest zone of humanity in the world. It celebrates the global industry of tourism which is effectively the invitation industry of humanity and its generosity,” he said. “From this space of respected tolerance comes the greatest movement of the 21st century—the reparatory justice movement against the legacies of slavery, violent colonisation and institutional racism.”

“CARICOM has embraced the economic development paradigm framed around reparatory justice that calls for a ‘finance plan’ within the tradition of the post-war Marshall Plan that promoted economic reconstruction in Europe. Such a plan was proposed by Sir Arthur Lewis for the West Indies Federation and was rejected by the British government, though a similar proposal from the Asian colonies was accepted and became known as the Colombo Plan which laid the basis of economic development in postcolonial Asia.”

He called on the Security Council to acknowledge and support the reparatory justice framework and movement that have emerged from the need to repair the continuing suffering caused by extreme extractive colonialism and its instruments of slavery and indenture, and told the Council that The UWI has offered itself as a broker and negotiator of the conversation.






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 in 2018 and 2019, then top 20 in 2020. 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.)