Jamaica Observer / KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, has called on the nation’s youth to get more involved in the activities of the National Council on Reparations in Jamaica. Speaking at a Reparation Youth Conference, hosted by the Council and ‘Talk Up Yout’ at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston yesterday, the minister said the Movement needs the support of the nation’s youth, who will benefit in the long run.
“Jamaica has always been a leader in the fight against slavery. Today, as my generation continues to lay the groundwork for the task that must be done in the restoration of African pride and development, we say to you [youth], the next generation, you must fulfill, not betray your ancestral mission,” Grange told the young people at the conference.
“The mission will be left in your hands… Make a commitment that you’re going to carry on the work as the next generation,” she urged.
Grange reminded those gathered at the conference that Jamaica was the first Caribbean nation to establish an organisation geared towards seeking reparation.
“Subsequently, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), as a group, established the Commission… and we are now united and stronger in our effort to seek reparation,” she said.
The minister noted that May 25, the day of the Conference, was globally recognised as African Liberation Day, and it was a time for Jamaican youth to not only celebrate with Africans, but to create a closer bond with African ancestry.
“We are reminded of our mission and purpose as Africans abroad to bond spiritually and through decisive action with Africans in the homeland, to engage those who must historically bear responsibility for the underdevelopment of the African continent and undervaluation of the African spirit, integrity and significance,” she said.
Meanwhile, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Pearnel Charles Jnr, also argued that the future for reparation lies in the hands of the nation’s youth.
“This is such an important conference, because it is critical to start with the youth. It is critical to make sure that the youth comprehend what we are discussing, so that they won’t become confused and cluttered in their minds, that they simply say, ‘We want some money’,” the state minister said.
“Emancipation is something that you have to not only define and refine, but you must infuse it in your mind,” he added.
The National Commission on Reparations was established by the Government of Jamaica in 2009 to recommend the form or forms which reparations may take, and to receive testimony from the public and from experts, with the aim of guiding a national approach to reparations.