The African People’s Socialist Party Bahamas issues position statement and ten reparation demands to the National Reparations Commission – Bahamas

EDITORS NOTE: On Monday, April 21, 2014, fifteen heads of state throughout the Caribbean are scheduled to meet in St. Vincent to make reparations demands on former European slavers and colonialists.

The meeting grew out of two prior meetings of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

The first, which was the thirty-fourth meeting of CARICOM in July of 2013 was held in Trinidad and created the Caribbean Reparations Commission.

The second was a meeting of the Caribbean Reparations Commission held in Jamaica on December 13, 2013, about the same time the Sixth Congress of the African People's Socialist Party was adjourning in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The following is a “Position Statement and Ten Reparations Demands” by the African People's Socialist Party Bahamas to the National Reparations Commission of the Bahamas, which is a member state of CARICOM and a member of the Caribbean Reparations Commission.
 

Nassau, The BahamasOn April 8, 2014, the African People’s Socialist Party Bahamas (APSP Bahamas) requests that the National Reparations Commission consider and adopt the following facts and demands for its case against Europe for reparations for the genocide of the Indigenous people and the enslavement and colonization of African people in The Bahamas and the Caribbean.

The APSP Bahamas recognizes that the reparations issue has to be the property of the masses if it is to be a significant political question.

The APSP Bahamas believes that reparations are due for slavery, colonialism, neocolonialism and for the ever-expanding discrepancies in the conditions of existence between Europeans and Africans in The Bahamas, Caribbean region and worldwide.

The APSP Bahamas believes that the National Reparations Commission must look at the material conditions faced by the African working class in The Bahamas and the Caribbean because it is the African working class that bears the full brunt of slavery, colonization and neocolonialism.

The African working class in The Bahamas is faced with a deteriorating capitalist based social system that has led to job losses, high rates of unemployment, failing small businesses, endemic poverty and crime.

At the end of last year the Department of Statistics reported that the national unemployment rate in The Bahamas is at 16.2 percent and unemployment among youth (people aged 15 – 24) is at 30.8 percent with the youth jobless rate for residents of New Providence and Grand Bahama considerably higher than any other age group.

In 2012 it was reported that just over 4,000 private homes in The Bahamas make use of outside toilets, unconventional toilet facilities or are without toilet facilities at all.

That same year a local newspaper reported that government statistics show that the number of Bahamian households surviving on less than US $5,000 per year has increased by 83 percent in the past four years.

And a recent international report indicates that the Bahamian life expectancy at birth is on the decline, and violent crime and disease are two major components of this decline.

At this moment, Africans in earthquake-ravaged, cholera-stricken Haiti continue to suffer the punitive consequences of a 200-year-old audacious victory over African slavery.

In Jamaica, out of a population of 2.7 million people, a whopping 1.1 million people live below the poverty line.

According to civil society organizations in Trinidad, 2014 finds more than 20 percent of the population there living below the poverty line while eight to 11 percent of the population are reported to be undernourished.

African people live in this poor wretched state of conditions all over the world, while Africa is the richest continent on Earth.

Therefore the APSP Bahamas calls on all African workers, especially tourism workers, construction workers and technicians, teachers, taxi drivers, farmers, fishermen, artists, workers associations and unions, and youths and students to support these ten demands.

We further call on all African people in The Bahamas and the Caribbean to give practical support to these demands by institutionalizing African Liberation Day during the month of May and that Africans in The Bahamas commemorate African Liberation Day on May 24 with the APSP Bahamas.

The APSP Bahamas also believes that Europeans can work in solidarity with Africans to end the parasitic relationship that exists between Europe and African people and that the demand for reparations is a just demand that should be supported by all peace-loving Europeans in The Bahamas, the Caribbean and Europe.

We ask that the National Reparations Commission adopt these following just demands in its case against Europe for reparations for the genocide and enslavement of Indigenous and African people in the Caribbean:

  1. We demand a full apology by Europe and Europeans in The Bahamas for the crimes of genocide, slavery and colonization against the Indigenous and African people in The Bahamas. Public spaces must also be created to reflect the historical and cultural significance of the Indigenous and African people of The Bahamas and Caribbean region.
     
  2. We demand reparations for the hundreds of years of slavery, colonial oppression, exploitation, terror and deprivation that continue to be experienced in The Bahamas by African people to this day. No amount of money is enough to compensate us for the crimes that have been committed against us, but there must be an empirical calculation of the value of capitalized African labor under slavery and colonialism in The Bahamas. The African People Socialist Party USA can give guidance on this point because on November 13 and 14, 1982 it held the first historic session of the World Tribunal on Reparations for African People in the U.S. in Brooklyn, New York. The Tribunal found that the U.S. owed African People $4.1 trillion for stolen labor alone, the first empirical calculation of the value of capitalized African labor. These monies, once calculated, must be used to serve the advancement of Africans in The Bahamas.
     
  3. We demand that the monies received by Bahamian slave-ownersas compensation for their loss of free African labor following the Emancipation Act of 1833be paid to Africans in The Bahamas. In "A History of The Bahamas" (1962), historian Michael Craton wrote that the British parliament voted for 20 million pounds as compensation for slave owners. He wrote that the Bahamian slave owners received 128,296 pounds for 10,086 African slaves. The present day equivalent of this amount needs to be calculated. Europe and Europeans in The Bahamas should be made to pay this amount to serve the advancement of African people. This payment can be in various forms including money, land and valuable assets in The Bahamas, for instance. This payment must also be used to ensure that the basic necessities of proper and adequate food, clothing and shelter are controlled and/or owned by every African in The Bahamas.
     
  4. We demand an end to the parasitic relationship that exists between Europe and African people in the Caribbean. For centuries European companies have fed off Africa and African people without putting anything towards African development. These global companies are allowed to operate in The Bahamas and throughout the Caribbean and they are made to pay little or no taxes and no social responsibility is imposed on them. These companies must be required to pay taxes that will benefit the people and be required to develop social programs for the development of Africans in The Bahamas and the Caribbean region. These companies must also be required to pay African workers living wages.
  5. We demand free health services and an immediate upgrade to the healthcare system in The Bahamas to deal with the colonially-based plethora of illnesses and diseases that afflict our people subsequent to slavery and during the continuing colonization of African people and the abrogation of our right to self-determination.
     
  6. We demand the immediate removal of all European intelligence and military forces from the Caribbean and Africa and an end to all counterinsurgent interventions in the Caribbean, Africa and South America.
  7. We demand that European governments, corporations and financial institutions renounce any claims of debt from the Caribbean and Africa, which has been responsible for the development of the European economy.
     
  8. We demand that the British Museum and all museums throughout Europe return all the artifacts that were stolen during the genocide of the Indigenous people and during the enslavement and colonization of Africans.
  9. We demand that reparations be paid to Haiti by France as repayment for the billions of dollars that Haiti was forced to pay France following the struggle for abolition of slavery and the creation of the First African Republic in the Western Hemisphere on January 1, 1804.
  10. We demand that Europe discontinue any involvement in the economic quarantine and imperial aggression against Cuba.
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