THE African People’s Socialist Party-Bahamas has requested that the National Reparations Commission consider and adopt its case against Europe for Reparations for the genocide of the indigenous people and the enslavement and colonisation of African people in the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
The APSP-Bahamas said they recognise that the reparations issue has to be the property of the masses if it is to be a significant political question.
However, they added that reparations are due for slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism 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, colonisation and neocolonialism,” a statement from the group read.
“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 per cent and unemployment among youth (people aged 15-24) is at 30.8 per cent 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 $5,000 per year has increased by 83 per cent 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.”
The group has asked that the National Reparations Commission adopt in its case against Europe for reparations for the genocide and enslavement of indigenous and African people in the Caribbean the following recommendations:
• A full apology by Europe and Europeans in the Bahamas for the crimes of genocide, slavery and colonisation 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.
• 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.
• Monies received by Bahamian slave-owners – as compensation for their loss of free African labour following the Emancipation Act of 1833 be paid to Africans in the Bahamas. 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.
• 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 programmes for the development of Africans in the Bahamas and the Caribbean region. These companies must also be required to pay African workers living wages.
• 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 colonialisation of African people and the abrogation of their right to self- determination.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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 colonisation of Africans.
• 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.
• That Europe discontinue any involvement in the economic quarantine and imperial aggression against Cuba.