President to address Parade Ground Reparations Rally

president David Granger has been confirmed as the main speaker for the Guyana Reparations Commission’s regional youth rally and relay set for Parade ground, Georgetown, on Friday.

Chairman of the Guyana Reparations Commission, Dr Eric Phillips said United States (US) actor Danny Glover, is also expected to attend what is said to be main event of a month-long list of activities for the Caricom International and Regional Youth Reparations Relay and Rally.

According to Dr Phillips, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Initiative began in Barbados on April 16, when Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Chairman of the Caricom Heads of State Subcommittee on Reparations launched the event. He said President Granger is a sitting member of that Subcommittee and will deliver

Guyana Reparations Commission Chairman, Dr Eric Phillips
Guyana Reparations Commission Chairman, Dr Eric Phillips

remarks here.

A reparations Baton – made in Barbados of mahogany wood – was passed on to Guyana at the event by Chairman of Barbados’ Task Force on Reparations, Professor Pedro Welch, to acting Consul General of Guyana to Barbados, Monique Jackman. It arrived in Guyana on April 19, 2016.

Dr Phillips said the Caricom Relay and Rally is part of a wider effort to spread the reparations message around the Caribbean, through public education and other initiatives focused on youth.

The May 20 event is part of a large number of activities all across Guyana.

The Reparations Commission Chairman said Friday is the next major activity at Parade ground beginning at 16:00h, with young runners leaving with the Baton at Stabroek where slaves were undocked through several historical stops, including Parliament Building, Cuffy Square, the Sea Walls, then to the Parade ground for the 18:00h programme.

Following the Parade ground event, villages on the East Coast and West Coast of Demerara will stage their own activities. The calendar is as follows:

the baton will be sent to the next Caricom country after Guyana’s activities are over in May and will tour all 15 Caricom reparation countries this year.

Guyana has produced three replicas of the baton, in beautiful mahogany; one for each of the three original counties of Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice.

Magnificently carved from fine Barbados mahogany wood, the original baton is a symbol of justice – engraved on it is a map of Africa and the words “Reparations Now,” representing the 15 Caricom countries. The relay will culminate in Jamaica later this year where the Emancipation Rebellion, led by Sam Sharpe, will be remembered and celebrated.

Guyana, like the other Caribbean countries, remains steadfast in its calls for Britain to make its due payment to the descendants of those who suffered in the massive slave trade which spread between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Earlier this month, the Caribbean Diaspora was called upon to support Caricom’s calls for the UK to pay reparations as compensation for its involvement in slavery and the slave trade.