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Dutch Historian Says Caribbean Nations May Be Seeking Reparations in Vain

dutch reparationsA noted Dutch historian, Gert Oostindie, has warned Caribbean leaders that they should not expect much from their reparation claims against Europe, even as they adopted a plan to further pursue the issue on Monday.

“Europe is going to entertain the dialogue, but they will not pay,”  Oostindie told the Dutch television station, NOS, on Tuesday.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders now winding up their two-day intersession have adopted a 10-point reparatory justice framework, presented by professor Sir Hillary Beckles, head of CARICOM’s Reparations Commission.

The prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, the host and CARICIM chairman, said the framework comprises “issues relating to things which have been talked about all the time like an apology, the question of organizing with African countries and those persons who want to have reparations, matters relating to health, education and literacy, building the cultural institutions and matters concerning a special program for the development of the indigenous people.”

At least 14 CARICOM member states have set up national reparations commissions, even as some Europeans countries against which claims are being made have said that they will not pay compensation for slavery and native genocide.

Gonsalves said Caribbean countries are hoping to hold talks with Europe in June on the issue.

Oostindie, who is director of the Royal Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies in Leiden, Netherlands, and whose primary areas of interest are Caribbean and Dutch colonial history, said he could understand why the Caribbean countries were making the move.

“(At the same time) the countries that experience slavery know that the European nations will never offer excuses. If those would be expressed, it could lead to financial claims and that is not a risk European countries want to run.

“Nonetheless, some of the former slave states feel that they are entitled to compensation; many of them are poor; some very poor. They blame slavery and are of the opinion that development aid is warranted,” he said.

Oostindie said the Caribbean leaders want Europe to acknowledge its role in slavery.

“They want unconditional acknowledgement and a dialogue with the former colonizers. I understand that, because so far the European nations have not wanted to discuss it and stopped short of expressing sorry,” he said.

Ooostindie said that in a recent discussion with a British ambassador to the Caribbean, he was told that it was not likely that the United Kingdom would pay any financial compensation.

“The ambassador told me, ‘We will not be avoiding the dialogue, but we will not be talking about money. We have to look toward the future.'”

As for the Netherlands, he named Suriname as an “important factor” in the pending suit from the Caribbean.

Among the initiators of this is the Surinamer Armand Zunder, who a few years ago wrote a book that says that Suriname is owed at least Euro 50 million (One Euro = US$1.29) by the Netherlands.


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One thought on “Dutch Historian Says Caribbean Nations May Be Seeking Reparations in Vain

  1. The nerve of this Dutch, if this is his opinion, the least he should say is, African people are owed reparations. After all Dutchman, your country participated in the slave trade for 350 years. Do you know this was a crime commited against a people's Human Rights? Crimes no one has yet been held accountable for, and the debt need to be paid, so that African people, can start to progress, after being held for 400 years. Without African people being held as slaves, your country would be a third of what it is today. What is interesting about these folks, who uphold these crimes committed against African people, they are not showing any remorse whatsoever. They really feel African people were put on the planet for them to hold as slaves. When they left Europe looking to survive their middle ages, they were people poor, land poor, resources poor, and culture poor. They raped and raided the cultures of the world, mostly Africa, and they do not want to pay their debt to African people? Google 'How African Slavery made the world what it is today". We are owed more than reparations, reparations pays for damages, from the crimes committed against us, we are owed retribution, for the work not paid for, and repatriation, for all black African people who wish to leave America, and go back home. Reparations Now.

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