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UN’s Dennis Francis says 12 Million People were deeply wounded by Slave Trade; Correction Essential

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

A highly placed United Nations (UN) official has described transatlantic slave trade and chattel slavery, as one of the darkest chapters in human history, and “not merely a 400-year long aberration.”

President of the UN General Assembly, Dennis Francis who made the comments while contributing to the Henry Cohen Public Lecture Series, recently, said the salve trade was also systematic assault on the fundamental rights of millions of people of African descent, and “harrowing statistics and images” that are well known, show that 12 million people deported across the Atlantic.

“Now the grave of millions, faces haunted by despair, families torn apart by deliberate Colonial policy, backs broken and/ or scarred from the merciless whipping, and human beings reduced to mere commodities on the auction block – all while Colonial powers amassed incalculable fortunes and wealth as part of the industrial revolution in Europe,” the President said.

Adding that although the images do not show the vestiges of the system of brutality, as it was a system, and not mere interpersonal, so “reparations are, therefore, more than just a matter of financial compensation – they represent a moral imperative, an honest reckoning with the past to make amends to entire communities disadvantaged deliberately, not consequentially, in order to enrich and empower Colonial Governments,” he said.

Further, he said correcting that injustice is essential to building a just and equitable future, and separatory justice starts with historical justice, and the truth, stressing that a pervasive dimension of African slavery was the notion that Africans were “intrinsically inferior to their slave masters, members of the white plantocracy.

“Racism and discrimination therefore became an entrenched feature of slave society that have over the centuries led to the suppression from public view of major achievements and contributions made to civilization, made by people of African descent,” the UN official said

The slave trade, he noted, constituted a “grievous violation” of human rights, inflicting “unspeakable suffering” and lasting harm on the victims, on those who survived the Middle Passage, and their descendants, as well as on the African continent itself.

Formally acknowledging the historical injustice, of denying millions their right to life and their dignity, by offering apologies and engaging in truth-telling, it would, in effect, be honouring the memory of all those who suffered and died and pave the way for reconciliation and healing, he told his audience.

“This is a good and rightful start, but it is just that: only a start. When slavery was abolished by an Act of the British Parliament in 1830, the Parliament also approved the payment of compensation to slave owners for the financial losses they incurred as a consequence of having lost their ‘possessions,’” he said, adding that a starting point is for the establishment of a Reparatory Justice Development Framework to the communities directly affected and impacted by chattel slavery.

Caribbean News

New UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Visits Dominica  

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ROSEAU, June 21, 2024: The new United Nations Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Simon Springett, is currently in the Commonwealth of Dominica to present his credentials ahead of key meetings with Government and national officials.

Today, Mr. Springett formally presented his credentials and met with Prime Minister the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, ahead of courtesy calls with Dominica’s President H. E. Sylvanie Burton, and several other senior Government Ministers.

Prime Minster Skerrit who expressed gratitude for the collective support received from the UN Development System to date, pledged to continue working to strengthen their partnership in coming years, noting that he was also “looking forward to establishing the UN Common Premises”, which is expected to expand UN cooperation and joint support in Dominica.

Meanwhile, the new UN Head also gave assurances of continued UN partnership and expansion of support to cover existing gaps. He added: “I am honoured to be here in Dominica, the beautiful Nature Isle, and to pledge my commitment, along with the UN Team, to supporting the Government in building resilience,  and further advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.”

During his visit, Mr. Springett also met with the Minister for the Environment, Rural Modernisation, Kalinago Upliftment and Constituency Empowerment, the Hon. Cozier Frederick, and visited the Kalinago Territory, where he benefitted from a brief historical tour of the Kalinago Barana Auté (Village by the Sea).

The Mission also included meetings with the Minister for Finance, Economic Development, Climate Resilience and Social Security – Hon. Dr. Irving McIntyre; Minister for National Security and Legal Affairs – Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore; National Disaster Coordinator, Office of Disaster Management – Mr. Fitzroy Pascal; Commissioner of Police – Mr. Davidson Valerie and the UN Multi-Country Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (MSDCF) Focal Point, Dr. Adis King, among other officials, and with UN staff in Dominica.

On June 1, Mr. Springett was appointed by UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, with the approval of the host Governments. A national of the United States, he brings his distinguished 25-year career in international development to this critical role, having most recently served as the UN Resident Coordinator in Moldova since 2019, leading the UN’s efforts in that country.

As the highest-ranking official of the UN development system in the Eastern Caribbean, Mr. Springett will lead the UN Sub-regional Team (UNST) across 10 countries and territories. He will champion the UN’s mandates and advocate for the delivery of the MSDCF in close collaboration with national governments and regional institutions. A key focus will be strengthening cooperation and effectiveness of UN operational activities throughout the region.

In the coming weeks, the new Resident Coordinator is expected to present his credentials to other Member States in his area of responsibility.

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Caribbean News

Jamaica Committed to Resilient Ocean Ecosystem

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#Kingston, Jamaica, June 24, 2024 – Director General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, Bertrand Smith has reiterated Jamaica’s commitment to fostering a resilient ocean ecosystem for future generations.

Speaking at a recent World Oceans Day ceremony hosted by Earth Ambassadeurs at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Mr. Smith outlined Jamaica’s proactive measures in marine conservation, including the implementation of a global initiative supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to combat marine litter from transport and fisheries sectors.

The Director General also noted the country’s compliance with the 2023 IMO Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission Strategy.

“As an active member of the International Maritime Organization, Jamaica commits to global efforts aimed at decarbonizing shipping, with ambitious goals to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050,” he said.

Recognizing the urgent need for action, Mr. Smith highlighted the pivotal role of youth leadership in driving sustainable change.

“[World Ocean Day] not only celebrates our oceans but also empowers our youth, particularly our Earth Ambassadeurs and Junior Ambassadeurs who are leading the charge for environmental stewardship,” he said.

“I am proud of how youth leadership is helping to drive the transformative change needed for our blue planet. On local, national, and international levels, young people are engaging in action and policy change to create a better future. We applaud these young climate advocates,” the Director General added.

Mr. Smith also appealed to persons to “safeguard our oceans and environment for our children, our grandchildren, and the generations to come” while adding that what is done today and over the coming years, will be crucial for their future and their world.

 

Photo Caption: Bert Smith addresses Earth Ambassadeurs World Oceans Day Ceremony

Contact: Peta-Gaye Hodges

Release: JIS

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Caribbean News

Dengigh Agricultural Food Show Set for August 4-6

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#Kingston, June 24, 2024 – The upcoming Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show, is attracting a record number of interests from potential exhibitors, according to Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Mining, Hon. Floyd Green.

“In terms of exhibits and people asking questions to be exhibitors, we are already at 20 per cent above the requests that we got last year. Denbigh is looking extremely good,” Mr. Green said.

He was speaking at the launch of the 70th staging of the event at the Hi-Pro Ace Supercentre, in White Marl, St. Catherine on June 21.

The Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show will be held from Sunday, August 4 to Tuesday, August 6, at the Denbigh Show Grounds in May Pen, Clarendon.

It is the largest agricultural exposition in the Caribbean, and has attracted over 100 exhibitors, offering a wide range of agricultural-related booths and seminars.

“Denbigh represents our progress in agriculture and has provided a platform to showcase agriculture excellence. The Denbigh Show is a place that you can learn about modern agriculture trends, and an environment that caters to our farmers, and provides entertainment to the entire family,” Minister Green said.

He also used the opportunity to laud the island’s farmers as they continue to ensure growth in the agriculture sector, despite the drought.

Mr. Green informed that local onion production is at an all-time high, while adding that the Government will continue to provide incentives for growth of the sector, and several other agricultural related industries.

The Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show has attracted over 80,000 patrons, and is a benchmark for showcasing agriculture and its related industries.

 

Contact: Garfield L. Angus

Release: JIS

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