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Hasten your footsteps on reparations, constitutional review – Skelton-Cline

- called on Premier Fahie to deliver on his promise of a Reparations Committee
Government Consultant and host of the Honestly Speaking Radio Programme, Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline has been called on Government to act swiftly to review the territory’s Constitution and move forward on the issue of reparations from the United Kingdom. Photo: VINO/File
Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has said he too backs the rest of the region in its attempt at seeking reparations from Britain. Photo: VINO/File
Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has said he too backs the rest of the region in its attempt at seeking reparations from Britain. Photo: VINO/File
The matter of reparations was raised on September 7, 2020, when Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert told 284 Media in an interview that despite the United Kingdom recognising that the transatlantic slave trade was a horrific period, the UK has not committed to paying up. Photo: VINO/File
The matter of reparations was raised on September 7, 2020, when Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert told 284 Media in an interview that despite the United Kingdom recognising that the transatlantic slave trade was a horrific period, the UK has not committed to paying up. Photo: VINO/File
BAUGHERS BAY, Tortola, VI- The Virgin Islands government has been called on to act swiftly to review the territory’s Constitution and move forward on the issue of reparations from the United Kingdom (UK).

That advice is coming from Government Consultant and host of the Honestly Speaking Radio Programme, Mr Claude O. Skelton-Cline.

“I want to call on the government to hasten their own steps in the formation of this constitutional review; to hasten their steps of what the Premier said he would do some weeks ago about forming a Reparations Committee that can be joined with our Caribbean brothers and sisters that we can together be a force in representing our position to the so-called powers that be, France, the United Kingdom, all of them,” he said on his show aired on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, on ZBVI 780Am and live-streamed on Facebook.

Skelton-Cline said, referring to reparations that “it is together we are stronger. Unified we can put forward a more effective case on these matters. We must hasten the steps.”

Plans have commenced to review the Constitution with a view of identifying loopholes in the existing document and reviewing the vision of the people of the territory.

Meanwhile, Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) said he too backs the rest of the region in its attempt at seeking reparations from Britain.

He also said the territory should consider renaming the Sir Francis Drake Channel and the like as the territory moves away from its dark past to become a more independent jurisdiction.

Slave masters were compensated!

Premier Fahie bemoaned that the slave masters were compensated by the United Kingdom in the sum of £20 million in 1833, yet the descendants of slaves, have yet to be paid.

The matter of reparations was raised on September 7, 2020, when Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert told 284 Media in an interview that despite the UK recognising that the transatlantic slave trade was a horrific period, the UK has not committed to paying up.

He said: “That’s not a position that the United Kingdom has taken.”

In response, Premier Fahie had said, Mr Jaspert’s comments are reflective of the perception of how the UK views the people of the territory.

He then wrote to Minister for the Overseas Territories Baronness Elizabeth G. Sugg on the matter on September 14, 2020.

However, Sugg said she was in support of Governor Jaspert’s statements.

“The British government expresses deep regret for this country’s past role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. We recognise fully the strong sense of injustice, and the legacy of slavery still felt in the most affected parts of the world. We feel that the most effective way for Britons today to respond is to ensure that future generations do not forget what happened and to work to ensure that slavery has no place in today’s world,” Sugg replied on September 18, 2020.

In commenting on the letter, Fahie said, it was disappointing that it is apparent that the UK believes a “statement of regret” is sufficient for the enslavement of people.

26 Responses to “Hasten your footsteps on reparations, constitutional review – Skelton-Cline”

  • Xxx (18/11/2020, 11:30) Like (1) Dislike (13) Reply
    its time we get our freedom
    • Really (18/11/2020, 15:08) Like (33) Dislike (0) Reply
      Freedom from whom? You been free since 1834 so thats 184 years of freedom.

      So againI ask freddom from whom? BVIslanders own all the land of the BVI which they haven't solf off to drive nice cars. So freedom from who?

      The only oppressor here is the BVI Government and idiots on the radio trying to keep you all subjegated by hatred.
      • @ Really (18/11/2020, 16:31) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
        They trying their best to hog tie the rest of us into their folly.

        You summed it up perfectly.
      • Hmm (18/11/2020, 20:11) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
        Maybe the indentured Spanish dancers or down island workers?
      • Biko (19/11/2020, 22:30) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Freedom from colonialism through an un-elected governor who has total power to circumvent the decisions of the elected government who we elect. Real democratic.
  • lodger (18/11/2020, 11:39) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Has he forgotten there is a law on the books banning the renaming of places.
  • FOR WHAT? (18/11/2020, 13:00) Like (12) Dislike (2) Reply
    For becoming one of the richest Caribbean islands?
    For what , your forefathers deserved it, you do not.
    Return all Crown Land,then return to your so called homeland of Africa that is rife with corruption and killings, return to poverty , lack of food, or do you just want some cash to buy a new car?

    You have been free since 1st August 1834 your family have amassed riches and everyone has had an oppertunity to prosper and do as they choose for over 60 years you have ruled yourselves with little interference and just help when you needed it wether you are thankful or grateful of it.

    Now in the BVI people work and pay taxes yet are unable to vote this is modern day slavery will you stand up for this also?
    • Norris Turnbull (19/11/2020, 07:26) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      @FOR WHAT.. If you are not deemed to belong you cannot vote. What's your moot point?
  • Yeyo (18/11/2020, 14:01) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Street says they didn’t find all of the keys... word is 173 keys made it out to market.
    • Wrong (18/11/2020, 16:35) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      only 48 keys missing but $99 returned the other 125 keys were picked up earlier
    • Deh Watcha (20/11/2020, 13:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Made it out, or were allowed out to continue to be followed?
  • HAHA (18/11/2020, 14:01) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Reparations Committee: Chairman CSC and Deputy Chairman, the Gas Man, board members, Queen One-stop and a few other yes people.
  • Black Lives Matter (18/11/2020, 14:11) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    This fool only studying reparations and inciting people. work and build. and leave a legacy behind for those who come after you.
  • rattie (18/11/2020, 15:05) Like (0) Dislike (17) Reply
    We need the governor gone let’s start there
  • WEW (18/11/2020, 16:06) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
    Reparations or land. After London paid off the slave/plantation owners they turned the land over to the newly freed slaves. If you'd like reparations London will take the land back and give you a free ride back to the African bush.
    • Quiet Warrior (19/11/2020, 13:56) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      @WEW, stop the attempt at revisionist history. Compensation received, the plantation owners didn’t get a conscience and left their land to slaves. After Emancipation in 1834, slaves still had to work an additional 4 years to get their so called freedom. The fall in sugar prices, weather systems, uprisings.......etc were the driving forces that drove the plantation owners hightailing back to the UK. Catching a case of sour grapes, they proclaimed that the BVI was only useful a bird sanctuary. The slaves earned the land. Their free and exploited labour paid for the land. The land was only partial return on their invested labour. The remainder of the return of their invested labour is still due with interest.
  • E. Leonard (18/11/2020, 17:54) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
    Racism institutionalized through slavery (UK original sin), colonialism, slavery trade and imperialism created cycles of poverty. All of these institutions were extractive and violent, especially slavery. The UK was complicit in and condoned slavery. Slavery was a dehumanizing, brutalizing and exploiting institution that marginalized a whole race of people as subhuman. The institution of slavery, slave trade, colonialism, imperialism.......etc built the UK’s economy; Black capitalism built the UK’s economy. The fruits of slave labour capitalized the Industrial Revolution. However, though slave labour was instrumental in building UK’s and the economies of other countries of the West, slaves didn’t and couldn’t benefit from the economy their labour built. They built the economy through their blood, sweat, tears and the LASH. They could not even own property or engage in trade. In fact, it was even illegal for them to be taught how to read and write. This was a deliberate attempt to keep them dumb, control them and in chains. The only people that have not benefited from slavery are slaves and their descendants. For example, in 1833 as a part of the Abolition Act, the UK government borrowed £20M to compensate some 3,000 slave owners for the supposedly lost of their chattel property. The families of some prominent Britons were compensated. The £20M equated to 40% of the UK’s budget at the time and was paid off in 2015.

    Moreover, racism was premised on White privilege, supremacy and hierarchy. This privilege provided preferred advantages in jobs/employment, education, healthcare, housing, dietary choices, government assistance......etc. Slavery and its companion racism created a wealth gap fault line between descendants of slave owners and slaves. The wealth earned from slave labour enabled slave owners to leave an inheritance for their descendants. At Emancipation, were barefooted and in rags.

    “The British government expresses deep regret for this country’s past role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. We recognise fully the strong sense of injustice, and the legacy of slavery still felt in the most affected parts of the world. We feel that the most effective way for Britons today to respond is to ensure that future generations do not forget what happened and to work to ensure that slavery has no place in today’s world,” Sugg replied on September 18, 2020. The UK government must do more than just acknowledge the egregious past wrongs and injustices inflicted on slaves and must provide compensatory damages through REPARATION. It must make slave descendants whole. Other groups who suffered injustices received reparation, ie, Japanese, Jews, Mau Mau, residents of Rosewood, Fl, .......etc so why not descendants of Caribbean/West Indian slaves?
    • @E.Leonard (18/11/2020, 20:28) Like (5) Dislike (4) Reply
      I have the answer your looking for but you are not going to like it.

      The reason the list of people you mention got reparations is because they were still alive or their children were alive.

      You are asking for reparations for great great great grandchildren most of whom now have other lineage within their family trees. White, Asian, Latin you choose.

      That is the answer why not, you won't like it ,but its a fact. Also all the land of the BVI was given over at the time now worth billions (but BVIslanders have sold lots)but still you have your begging cup out, it truly is pathetic the dribble you come out with every time.

      Yours a mixed race man so do I get anything?
      • E. Leonard (19/11/2020, 11:49) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        @@E.Leonard, “The reason the list of people you mention got reparations is because they were still alive or their children were alive.” This assertion is not truly factual. Thomas Gradgrind, the central figure in Charles Dickens’ novel Hard Times was about cold, hard facts. Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s advisor, may have coined the phrase ‘Alternative Facts.’ Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, quipped that, Truth is not Truth. The latter two quips are Orwellian pearls. In any event, a debate should be about facts.

        In regards to reparation only going to the living who suffered injustices, to me, that is not factual. Let’s look to the Holocaust. Adolf Hitler sent some 6,000,000+ Jews to the gas chamber. A horrible genocide ( of course, all genocides are horrible, ie slavery). In addition to the 6,000, 000 plus murdered, tens of millions more were forced into slave labor; many died from the forced slave labour. Consequently, to compensate the Jews, Germany paid Israel 3 billion marks between 1953 and 1967, and 450 million marks to World Jewish Congress. The paid reparations benefited not only survivors but also descendants of the murdered.

        Moreover, old injustices and evils do not evaporate with time. There are no statue of limitation on some crimes; there should be no statue of limitation on genocide, ie, slavery. 1 Kings: “Have you murdered and also inherited.”
        Germany was complicit in and condoned the Holocaust; UK (government)too was complicit and condoned slavery. As a result, unspeakable and horrific crimes were committed against slaves. Slave labour built the UK’s economy and benefitted the whole UK society so the UK(government) should acknowledge the wrong and pay compensatory damages to slave descendants. It owes a moral and material debt to descendants. ......
    • Hmmm (18/11/2020, 20:48) Like (3) Dislike (3) Reply
      Nobody doubts that part of history was disgusting. Other parts too. There are a few issues with reparations though. For the BVI as opposed to other places, BVIslanders have the benefit of the British passport, and all of the infrastructure and amenities we say Britain enjoys because of the riches from slavery. Of course, millions of Brits are also those who moved there way after slavery ended. Many from places that had their own issues in that period. It seems inequitable for them to chip in. We also have to remember many Brits worked mines, farms and factories that were closer in conditions to the slaves than the slave owners although of course not equivalent. Lives were lost and times were incredibly hard even for those who worked in the very mills and factories where sugar silk and things came in. They had a wage but barely enough to live on. Ideally the families that profited and, horrifically (although at the time as a quid pro quo to stop the practice) received compensation would set up a fund. But then who benefits? How does it get administered? If individuals Presumably there would be a long process of sorting out which families were actual descendants and then legal battles all down the living generations about proportionality. Maybe issuing unexplained wealth orders on certain families who appear to have somehow amassed a wealth on the back of moderately paid government careers or through contracts for government that were of questionable value. And of course those in the industry recently in the focus. We’d have to subtract perhaps for slave owners since then. Subtract maybe the benefits of the financial services industry enabled by the UK and monies advanced over the years? That would surely result in a net loss for here. If the government, that’s obviously an issue as well. We don’t seem to have politicians wanting to build proper schools, infrastructure etc. That dilutes the benefit to the families whose ancestors were enslaved. How much? Well, BVI was a very small proportion of the industry too. It would be much better if the issues were more straightforward but they are not. One thing the UK could do is be a better advocate and trade partner but that’s also a two-way street also. As for independence. Well what a mess. Philosophically, sure. If the people want it. NOt sure it makes sound business sense. But the key is we do not have a trustworthy governance structure so only a few families and crooks would benefit, not the BVIslanders as a whole. If that would move financial services to our competitors, there would need to be another industry to support the territory. Education levels and infrastructure don’t yet point to widespread success.
      What happened elsewhere? Well many other countries just invested in their people, their infrastructure, their institutions and thrived. Others didn’t and it doesn’t look good. It’s a conversation to have sure but it’s not straightforward.
  • AFRICAN BUSH (18/11/2020, 19:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    That is how too many of you still view Africa, Y'all; need to wake up to the reality that Africa has some of the fastest growing cities in the world. Western media still like to portray Africa as jungle and poverty, while that may be true in some areas it should be noted that most every country in the world has the same scenario. The United States of America has areas in some states where the people are dirt poor in the backwoods and I am talking black and white. Please wake up to the 21st Century Africa you'll be amazed. On another note London did not turn over any land to newly freed slaves. Virgin Islanders either bought the land or are descendants of the plantation owners. Others were granted title by the Cadastral Survey of the 1970s after being in undisputed possession for many years. Don't forget that the whites were run off the islands by the locals who existed independently for many decades. The ministerial system of governance in the 1970s saw an attempt by whites to take control of Wichams Cay and Anegada. This was again resisted by the people with the formation of the Positive Action Movement. What we have allowed to happen since then is the hijacking of the economy by Financial Services and Tourism as successive governments have only paid lip service to agriculture and fisheries the traditional source of income for the people of the islands. We have now passed the point of no return as even the locals in total ignorance of the reality of their existence are first to attack anyone who promotes or supports the ways of our fore fathers. The Corona virus pandemic has now sealed our fate and hopefully our leadership would recognize that the job of steering this territory through this and beyond is no simple feat seemingly damn if you do and damn if you don't.
    • @African Bush (19/11/2020, 10:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      So the UK gave independence to an African nation and then more thaqn 3million people weredisplaced and slaughtered.

      Genocide happens in Africa not in rural America

      Yes some cities are vibrant at the cost of the rest of their nations.

      Power corrupts all.
  • Diaspora 3D/360 (18/11/2020, 23:43) Like (4) Dislike (6) Reply
    Gov AJU Jaspert needs to apologize for his dismissive, disrespectful and disparaging attitude about reparation for VI slave descendants and the renaming of local landmarks. The Governor’s wants to retain the names of landmarks named murderers, buccaneers, pirates......etc to preserve history. Landmarks should be named after persons who positively contributed to the community. Here is what Barbados just recently did about the Lord Nelson statue: “ Hundreds of Barbadians braved the inclement weather on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, to be a part of history and witness the removal of the statue of Lord Nelson from National Heroes Square.“ White have always enjoyed and benefitted from a separate and unequal environment. They feel entitled with the separate and unequal status that White privilege affords them.

    Immersed in the entitled status, Governor Jaspert could not bring himself to apologize to the slave descendants. As such with the recent huge drug bust he race could not wait to rush the camera to proclaim that the BVI was corrupt. This was a shiny object distraction opportunity for Guv so as not to apologize to Virgin Islanders. Neither the use or sale of illegal drugs have no part in the BVI community, for it is detrimental to the society.
  • Rubber Duck (19/11/2020, 05:50) Like (0) Dislike (4) Reply
    Yes poor Mr Leonard has hardly a rag to his back after the terrible way he has been treated.
  • Mick Matthew (19/11/2020, 07:31) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Stop being a slave to the slave trade.
  • @@ AFRICAN BUSH (19/11/2020, 13:07) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    The Corruption started in 1492 with the blessing of the Vatican.


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