Could Reparations Fix Jamaica’s Economy?

I refer to Peter Espeut’s article on March 6, 2015, in which he championed the cause of reparations being a saviour to Jamaica’s economy.

I am not sure that the Parliament of Jamaica has made the decision to recover funds being identified as “terrorist” funding in the matter of slavery, an issue which shortly will be 200 years old.

Mr. Espeut goes on to say that all of the enslaved Africans are long dead, postulates that their descendants will receive the compensation due to their family connections; which I doubt.  Property may be transferred by inheritance, but property does not include people, who are living flesh and blood. There is nothing in the laws that say that a living soul should receive compensation, and while we are aware what slavery entails, suffering and pain are not transferable  nor should their compensations be.

Further, what would the value of their uncertain heritage, their homeland Africa which amounted to a group of poverty stricken lands, and the loss of so-called freedom which never existed in the first place?

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In 2013, the black president of the USA ,  Barack Obama, addressing a Graduating class of Morehouse College students had this to say: “I understand that there’s a common fraternity creed here at Morehouse: ‘Excuses are tools of the incompetent, used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness,'” Obama said.

“We’ve got no time for excuses — not because the bitter legacies of slavery and segregation have vanished entirely; they have not. Not because racism and discrimination no longer exist; we know those are still out there. It’s just that in today’s hyper-connected, hypercompetitive world, with millions of young people from China and India and Brazil — many of whom started with a whole lot less than all of you did — all of them entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything that you have not earned,” he said. 

In an intense moment he continued: “the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didn’t have the opportunities that I had — because there but for the grace of God, go I. I might have been in their shoes. I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed. I might not have been able to support a family. And that motivates me.”

Just making the point, that the most outstanding president of our time, a black man, says ” don’t make slavery an excuse for not working harder. ” That is what will happen.  Then when reparations money is received (if it occurs), it will go to the Government of Jamaica to share,  who will lose it in a hole spiralling down into the earth; and no benefit will ever be realized.

©Ramesh Sujanani

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