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The Fatal Conceit of the Caribbean Reparations Movement

Rashid Griffith, Executive Director of the Caribbean Progress Studies Institute in Washington DC, argues in this article that the claims made for Caribbean reparations, notably by Hilary Beckles, have no basis in economic history and are being used to divert attention from the economic failings of Caribbean nations since independence.

Suddenly, calls for reparations are everywhere. What was once a marginal political sentiment in Britain and the Caribbean a decade ago has metastasized into one of the defining characteristics of politics. This year has been a watershed for the movement. In February, the University of the West Indies co-hosted a symposium to discuss a report they commissioned to calculate reparation payments, concluding that Britain owed the Caribbean around $2 Trillion in reparations.

In April, a group of descendants of former plantation owners in Britain formed Heirs of Slavery, a lobby organization to champion reparatory justice for the Caribbean. In August, the President of Guyana, amidst a domestic oil-fueled economic boom, called for descendants of former plantation owners to pay reparations. Soon after, the Prime Minister of Grenada echoed the same. In September, a report published by the United Nations emphasized the need to “acknowledge that truth, justice, and reparations concerning enslavement, the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans and colonialism and their legacies contribute to non-recurrence and reconciliation and benefit all of society.”

To continue reading, please, turn to the History Reclaimed website

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