Sir Hilary calls for reparations for hurricane ravaged islands

Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, on Saturday made a case for reparations for Caribbean islands that were devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September.

Hurricane Irma was the first category five storm to hit this region, causing widespread damage on the islands of Anguilla, Barbuda, Cuba, the British and US Virgin Islands and St Maarten.  Hurricane Maria struck two weeks later, decimating Dominica and Puerto Rico.

Addressing the Vice Chancellor’s forum dubbed Irma and Maria: Relief, Reconstruction and Reparations, Sir Hilary argued that European economies were built by wealth created in Caribbean colonies, but whatever relief will be provided to the affected countries “is going to be a fraction of what was extracted from this region over 300-400 years”.

He supported calls by Sir Richard Branson for a Marshall plan for the Caribbean, based on the United States programme to assist in the reconstruction of the economies of European countries following World War II. However, he noted that similar calls have been made for such a development concept to be applied to the region over the past eight decades.

“So in the last 80 years, Caribbean peoples have been calling on the British state to develop a Marshall plan for this region that they are entitled to.  In the 40s and in the 50s, the 20 years before independence, the labour movements, the anti-colonial movements were talking about these islands deserving a development plan, that they cannot go into their independence without a development strategy, funded by those who had extracted the wealth from this region in the first place,” Sir Hilary said.

He told the audience of academics, students and disaster management officials at the Usain Bolt Sports Complex that the Caribbean cannot imagine its future without a grasp of history, and that these are conversations that citizens need to have as they seek to rebuild from the disasters.

“We are in the midst of a historical construction; we are in the midst of our historical journey.  It’s a moment in time, there’s a lot of history that we have to speak about and we need to understand that this is not a God-given situation.  This is a historically made situation that can be unmade by those who have made it.”

Sir Hilary was particularly critical of the European leaders who visited the region in the wake of the disasters.

“We saw a French president flying into the Caribbean for a photo op. We saw a British foreign minister flying into the Caribbean for a photo op. And we saw an American president flying into the Caribbean for photo ops . . .

“Why is that? It is because the Caribbean is the only part of this hemisphere that is still colonised.  Latin America has moved on with their history, they have moved on with their destiny. North America has moved on with its destiny, and in the middle of the hemisphere are these islands that are still trapped in the colonial past in the definition of colonies. And imperial overlords fly into their colonies to issue states of relief but to consolidate their image that we Caribbean people are still colonised,” he said.

The Vice Chancellor compared the response of Puerto Rico and Cuba following the passage of the hurricanes, noting the importance of resilience in such disasters.

“The images emerging out of Cuba are a people who are not only resilient but who are focused on rebuilding their world. The image coming out of Puerto Rico is an image of dependency, and it’s unfortunate.  It is an image of colonial dependency as opposed to national and nationalist mobilisation . . .  And that is a reflection of where we are in our history.

“We are mobilising around Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda because they are part of our nationalist landscape. It is natural for us to mobilise around our nationalist upsurge,” he said.

Sir Hilary recalled Hurricane Gilbert in Jamaica in 1988, and the determination of that island to rebuild, coupled with support from her Caribbean neighbours.

In two months Jamaica was back on its feet and moving because there was a phenomenal upsurge of nationalism, a phenomenal upsurge of Caribbean integration, all the peoples of the Caribbean moved into Jamaica and Jamaica was back on its feet. I’m concerned about how we have taken for granted the issues of history and the future.”

He stated that the hurricanes have revealed the “colonial mess” that has been left behind by European countries, and while Caribbean countries take responsibility for their own wellbeing, “we also have a right to say that those who have created this mess have a duty, not only moral but legal, to come back and participate with us in cleaning up this mess and imagining a more sustainable and resilient future”.

“That is the message I think we need to begin with,” Sir Hilary said.

30 Responses to Sir Hilary calls for reparations for hurricane ravaged islands

  1. Richard Johnston November 11, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    What does hurricane damage have to do with former colonial status?

    Reply
  2. Francis November 11, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    Utter rubbish

    Reply
  3. Jennifer November 12, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Bridge to mother ship>>>>>>>>Really, seriously???? Another WOT. You lot dropped the ball long time ago. They don’t care, get it through that thick skull.

    Reply
  4. Sherlock Holmes. November 12, 2017 at 12:53 am

    Time for you to hang up the gloves seems like you are constantly going back to the past and to be quite honest spewing ludicrous drivel at times. From Nelson statue to this, what next?

    Reply
  5. Ronald Callender November 12, 2017 at 1:46 am

    To ask for “reparations” for eighty years suggests two things. One, you don’t get it. Your plea continues to fall on “deaf ears.

    Two, you are saying implicitly, that you can’t get out of the fiscal and economic “quick sand” the country is now in.

    There is hope in a plan, but it will take at least two decades. If you do nothing it will get worse, meaning, you may have to rent a country you once owned. Independence mean independence.

    Put all the “educated heads” together in a room and don’t leave the room until everybody agreed to a plan that’s in the interest of the average Barbadian.

    Reply
  6. Tony Webster November 12, 2017 at 5:30 am

    How to steal a “Marshal Plan”; re-label it, and ease -in the “Reparations for Hurricanes” thing!!! I like it….dem Brits, Dutch, Spanish, French, an a cupple Germans too…will be throwing Reparations Parties after each Storm, or Hurricane, visits us…or even when kick-em-Jenny gets obstreperous. What category of cyclone might “trigger” a party? What proportions ought all those filthy countries be made to pay? How shall we divide-up all that moolah? What about a R.F.C.V.W.P.P.”… “Reparations For Calamitous Visitations by Wayward Political Parties?

    Hmm….menthinks that the gentleman protest overmuch…and that lady at no.10…well….forsooth Sir…she is very, very, VERY busy just now. Best of British, sorry, Bajan luck to you.

    Why , oh why, am I reminded of anuthuh equally famous, equally sincere, equally adventuresome, and equally mis-placed Gentleman, who had an extreme fondness for tilting at windmills?

    Reply
  7. Alex Alleyne November 12, 2017 at 6:16 am

    We in the “ENGLISH” speaking CARIBBEAN ain’t getting a CENT. HURRICANE or SLAVERY don’t mean a thing, 300 to 400 years or NOW.

    Reply
    • Jennifer November 12, 2017 at 9:51 am

      399yrs to be exact Alex and STILL in the thick of it. But who’s counting??????? And you need to pull in the blacks in Iraq + Iran (persia + Media) Syria, UAE, China, Spain, GB, Panamanian, and how can we forget the GREAT US of A and the list goes on. Hahahahahahaha – They will get it all right. What did EWB say about the race not being for the swift, but for all who endureth to the END.

      Reply
  8. Sheron Inniss November 12, 2017 at 6:31 am

    Do these academics see beyond their education? The older folks tell you “yuh better get up and get, education ain’t common sense, I only went to Bromley, etc”.

    They too are on my list of persons to ignore for the most part.

    Reply
    • Jennifer November 12, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Sheron, but they CAN”T go beyond their education, this is the sole crux of the problem. Mind you, them ask for reparations and then take the said people accolades and drink them Jack Daniels. What idiots. Have another Jack on me but add azz onto it.

      Reply
  9. jrsmith November 12, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Dear sir, would be better to couple the chains back together of our bussa statue……. We as a people is still locked in ,locked down ……This is as if for us black people to understand , for us to move forward we must always be reminded of a past which only benefited the white folk then and still is ………………..

    Reply
    • Jennifer November 12, 2017 at 7:49 am

      Hahahaha, mind you – you r the only one that sees this.

      Reply
  10. Jus me November 12, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Forget White
    Replace with Elite.
    Yellow ,black ,white
    Imaterial,
    De Bahss is de Bahss.

    Dat lil black boy mekkin a profession outa beggin.

    I be more interested if he did start wid a few hundred in the pot out he pockey

    No fear on dat,
    Lol

    Reply
  11. Ras Small
    Ras Small November 12, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Not just fah hurricane ravaged islands, but FAH EVERYTHING DAT DA DO TO OUR ANCESTORS & WE AND WHA DA CAHWAY.

    Reply
  12. luther thorne November 12, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Every Adult citizen in Barbados can be paid 1 million dollars
    Thats only about 100 to 200 million . That aint no money. The Queen of England can pay that herself. Better make it 2 million
    Not impossible : highly probable. Sir Hilary for PM

    Reply
  13. luther thorne November 12, 2017 at 9:57 am

    You people on this Blog, Sherlock Holmes included, just oppose and criticize for no other reason than for the sake of it. It is a pastime to just be opposite to any view expressed by anybody. It is a sickness. Careless dismissal of everything scientific, historical, factual and visionary. Just like how Trump and his base
    employ alternative facts. It is seen when a person goes to the doctor and his given advice but dismisses the expertise of the doctor only to lean on his own misunderstanding. The doctor says stop drinking and you dismiss him by saying that the doctor want all for heself. We know everything about everything so everybody else dont know what they are saying. We Know! Sir Hilary is a man who has studied the situation and a man who is “awaken”. A man who is Visionary. When Tom Adams propose the Industrial Highway now wrongly called the ABC Highway , he was opposed same way. There are sleepers who have no solutions, no vision, no ideas but are just sleeping and waiting for anyone to propose so that can wake up oppose , destroy and then go back to sleep. You have to ignore them. They know more about cricket than cricket experts. Never went to University but know more about University than anyone else. Never ran for politics but know more than the experts.

    Reply
  14. Sherlock Holmes. November 12, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    LUTHER THORNE, the problem with you is, you are a shill and you apparently cannot think for yourself. You are a band wagon person so you see everything from your side of the fence and we all know which side that is. You honestly believe that we will ever get reparations? You need to wake up the British has so much trouble on their hands now with the EU and mass migration and the whole Brexit agenda that reparations is the furthest thing from their minds and agenda. Do me a favor Luther please stop mentioning the name Sherlock Holmes in your posits you annoy me at times.

    Reply
  15. Whitehill November 12, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Reading the writings of those opposing or making stupid remarks regarding the gentlemen’s proposal for reparations , I can only imagine what it must’ve been like for those slaves who said let’s rise up, and the other enslaved fools saying rise and do what.
    Wasn’t the slave owners compensated for their loss?
    Yes they were; why can’t we be compensated. So many times I’ve come across present day blacks in Bdos who want to forget what their ancestors been through. I think it’s because too many of you want to still suck up to your slave master descendants. I see you, I’ve been watching you.

    Reply
    • Sherlock Holmes. November 12, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      Listen to me Whitehill i am well aware of the horrors of slavery heck i have read many a book on some of the atrocities that took place during that era i have also read about slaves like Nat Turner who resisted and fought against the tyrannical slave owners in their quest for freedom, i admired them i am one who believe we should not forget our history but at the same time i am not going to be stuck in the past constantly lamenting on the ills of slavery, to me that that is another form of chains i would impose on my mind. Reparations will always be a talking point and that is just what it will remain a talking point,as i have said before get real and look at the world situation as it relates to Britain they are now facing serious challenges with the EU AND BREXIT reparations for former colonies is the last thing on their minds if by chance it was ever considered.By the way i do not suck up or cower to anyone i fear Jesus he has the ultimate power and is the only one in control.

      Reply
  16. Jus me November 12, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Ha ha Luther,
    Visionary Beccles, his vision is himself as a Somebody.
    Has been a Social,”hanger on” eversince.
    Paid how much and provided WHAT.
    Hanging in by the skin of he big teet and well manicured
    finger nails.
    But OOOH!
    De trough slipping away and away.

    I am surprised he ent knowHelpin yuhsel, is the first move

    Anybody else sick to death, wid hasbeans?

    Reply
  17. Jennifer November 12, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    First let me say that the Negros and whites have a very UNIQUE relationship. Anyone who uses some thinking skills will see why reparations will not be given to the Caribbean blacks who went through the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. And white people in GB knows all of this also. What you are looking at is a spiders WEB not one area. The word trans should give a clue – IT WAS THREE DIRECTIONAL into all nations on the earth with 40 million dead at the end. The negro is fragmented and identity less, and we all know about the effects of fragmentation on mind and nationhood. If you pay one you will get the same three way flood gate of reparations fillings . When you take accolades from the said people who cause your demise you also show you are not serious in your beliefs or cause.

    Reply
  18. archy perch November 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    This reparations train is a futile trip.
    I would like the energies to be focused on persuading the big countries and their controlled institutions to render developing countries/islands like ours, debt forgiveness, so we have a proper platform for economic growth in todays world.

    Reply
  19. David E November 12, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Luther Thorne are you saying that they are only 200 adult citizens in Barbados? 1 million x 200 adults = 200 million as far as I know.

    Reply
  20. David E November 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Luther Thorne are you saying that there are only 200 adult citizens in Barbados? 1 million x 200 adults = 200 million as far as I know.

    Reply
  21. David E November 12, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    “there” sorry

    Reply
  22. Belfast November 12, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    He would sound more convincing if he drops his colonial type, slavemaster, bunch-of-keys Knighthood.

    Reply
    • Sherlock Holmes. November 12, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      One day i would with keen interest listen to him explain why he accepted a knighthood from our slave masters so to say.

      Reply
  23. 3rdsun November 12, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Hillary Beckles is a political hack. He son should be in jail for murder but only get off tru connections

    Reply
  24. luther thorne November 12, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    Whitehill. Bravo ! Bravo !
    Sherlock Holmes and the others should be sentenced to reading your comments 22 times an hour for the rest of their lives. Even if they heard that reparations are to be paid , they would still have something negative and opposing to say. And now some like 3rd is attaking the man personally with careless nasty slurs not relevant to the discussion.

    Reply
  25. Tony Waterman November 13, 2017 at 3:34 am

    What Sir Hilary does NOT seem to be able to get through his thixk Skull, is that the Countries who he is saying extracted all this Wealth fro this region, are now as poor as this region is, look at the Economies of Britain, France, Holland, Spain, Portugal, there are all in Shambles, whe does he suppose this Reparations will come From ??
    That Guy should put his Brain in Gear, before he opens his Mouth.

    Reply

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