In 2013 Caribbean Heads of Governments established the Caricom Reparations Commission (CRC) with a mandate to prepare the case for reparatory justice for the region’s indigenous and African descendant communities who are the victims of Crimes against Humanity (CAH) in the forms of genocide, slavery, slave trading, and racial apartheid.This document, prepared by the CRC, proposes the delivery of this mandate within the formulation of the Caricom Reparations Justice Program (CRJP). The CRC asserts that victims and descendants of these CAH have a legal right to reparatory justice, and that those who committed these crimes, and who have been enriched by the proceeds of these crimes, have a reparatory case to answer.

The CRJP recognizes the special role and status of European governments in this regard, being the legal bodies that instituted the framework for developing and sustaining these crimes. These governments, furthermore, served as the primary agencies through which slave based enrichment took place, and as national custodians of criminally accumulated wealth.


  • Were owners and traders of enslaved Africans instructed genocidal actions upon indigenous communities
  • Created the legal, financial and fiscal policies necessary for the enslavement of Africans
  • Defined and enforced African enslavement and native genocide as in their ‘national interests’
  • Refused compensation to the enslaved with the ending of their enslavement
  • Compensated slave owners at emancipation for the loss of legal property rights in enslaved Africans
  • Imposed a further one hundred years of racial apartheid upon the emancipated
  • Imposed for another one hundred years policies designed to perpetuate suffering upon the emancipated and survivors of genocide
  • And have refused to acknowledge such crimes or to compensate victims and their descendants


The CRC is committed to the process of national international reconciliation. Victims and their descendants have a duty to call for reparatory justice. Their call for justice is the basis of the closure they seek to the terrible tragedies that engulfed humanity during modernity. The CRC comes into being some two generations after the national independence process, and finds European colonial rule as a persistent part of Caribbean life.

The CRC operates within the context of persistent objection from European governments to its mandate. The CRC, nonetheless, is optimistic that the CRJP will gain acceptance as a necessary path to progress.

The CRC sees the persistent racial victimization of the descendants of slavery and genocide as the root cause of their suffering today. The CRC recognizes that the persistent harm and suffering experienced today by these victims as the primary cause of development failure in the Caribbean.

It calls upon European governments to participate in the CRJP with a view to prepare these victims and sufferers for full admission with dignity into the citizenry of the global community. The CRC here outlines the path to reconciliation, truth, and justice for VICTIMS AND THEIR DESCENDANTS.

Ten Point Action Plan


    The descendants of the indigenous peoples subjected to genocide, the loss of several cultures, and the erasure of numerous
    languages require a full and formal apology. The descendants of the enslaved African population subjected to deadly forced migration, and a system of colonialism that destroyed their bodies and their cultures, require a full and formal apology. Groups subjected to deceptive systems of indenture deserve a full and formal apology. All the ancestors who were destroyed or affected by colonialism, their descendants alive today, and future generations require a full and formal apology. Only a full and formal apology can allow for the healing of wounds and the destruction of cultures caused by colonialism (enslavement and other forms of oppression of peoples).

    A full apology accepts responsibility, commits to non-repetition, and pledges to repair the harm caused. Governments from countries responsible for the destruction have refused to offer apologies and have instead issued Statements of Regret. These statements do not acknowledge that crimes have been committed and continue to represent a refusal to take responsibility.

  • 2. Indigenous Peoples Development Programmes

    As a result of European conquest and colonisation, the indigenous peoples within the Member States of CARICOM have been subjected to forced migration within countries and across the region; to brutal work conditions, and genocide. Indigenous peoples were brutalized and killed as a result of official instructions to the European military commanders who came to the region. Those who were not immediately killed had their ancestral lands seized and a community of 3 million people in 1700 was decimated to less than 30 thousand in 2000. This also led to the
    destruction of their languages and unique cultural heritage. Their descendants remain traumatized, landless, and are one of the most marginalized groups in the region as a result of the deliberate and racist discrimination on the part of the European colonizers.

    Despite the efforts of the newly developing CARICOM Member States which have inherited the situation, the rebuilding of these communities cannot be done without responsible European States taking on the responsibility of correcting the damage and where possible, restoring the communities that still exist.

  • 3. Funding for Repatriation to Africa

    The descendants of African peoples stolen from their homes, lands, people, and cultures have a legal right of return; for unlike indentured workers, the enslaved had no contract guaranteeing the right to return or material incentives to remain. It is the responsibility of those States that are responsible for the forced movement and enslavement of their ancestors to establish a resettlement programme for those who wish to return. CARICOM has already been in contact with African States that are willing and able to allow for the return of their stolen people. The burden, however, of funding the resettlement of those who had been moved as a result of crimes by certain European States cannot be borne by the victims of the crimes.

    A fully funded resettlement programme that allows for the repatriation of the displaced Africans in CARICOM Member States who wish to return while also addressing issues such as citizenship and re-integration are crucial steps to correcting the wrongs of enslavement and colonialism.

  • 4. The Establishment of Cultural Institutions and the Return of Cultural Heritage

    Part of the devastation of European colonisation was the deliberate attempt to destroy the cultures and languages of the indigenous peoples, enslaved Africans, and the indentured workers. Generations later, this has left a gap in the knowledge of some of these groups about the history of their ancestors as well as an inability to deeply appreciate, not only the full and complete lives and cultures they had before European colonization, but also the trauma and destruction they endured during the process, how they eventually gained freedom, and the strides they are taking to slowly rebuild.

    The restoration of historical memory through community institutions such as museums and research centres will allow citizens to understand these crimes against humanity as well as other colonial harm and to memorialize their ancestors’ contributions to modern disciplines such as health care and technology. The absence of these institutions contributes to a sense of rootlessness of these groups within the region. The return of cultural heritage to now be put on display in the region would also allow for Caribbean school teachers, children, and academic researchers to have the benefit of access to the information that is now locked almost exclusively within European institutions.

    Though some private institutions have been established, CARICOM Member States have not been able, with their extremely limited resources, to build these institutions on their own. The Caribbean Reparatory Justice Programme maintains that the destruction of historical memory is a crime for which reparation must be made

  • 5. Assistance in Remedying the Public Health Crisis

    CARICOM Member States are committed to providing high standards of health care for their populations in accordance with their international obligations. They are however unable, on their own, to deal with the multiple diseases that are the legacy of enslavement and have the potential to affect the majority of their populations. For example, the African descended population in the Caribbean has the highest incidence in the world of chronic diseases in the form of hypertension and Type
    2 diabetes.

    New medical evidence has shown that this is a result of the nutritional experience, physical and emotional brutality, and overall stress profiles associated with 400 years of enslavement.
    The centuries of poor nutrition and overly salted foods given to the enslaved have now transmitted an inter-generational tendency for hypertension. This has devastating consequences for a health care system that was deliberately made inadequate by European colonizers and is now slowly being built by CARICOM Member States. It creates a burden that these States cannot shoulder on their own and these chronic health conditions now constitute the greatest financial risk to sustainability in the region.
    Dealing with this health crisis requires the injection of science, technology, and capital beyond the capacity of the Region. European countries that are responsible for the crisis have an obligation to participate in its alleviation and to restore good health through the provision of hospitals and health care.

  • 6. Education Programmes

    There was barely an attempt during the period of enslavement and colonialism, to have a proper education system established to serve the needs of indigenous peoples, enslaved Africans and indentured workers. This unwillingness may be attributed to the deliberate desire of colonizers to have an uneducated labour force, dedicated to back- breaking and deadly work.

    At the end of European colonialism, the black, indigenous, and indentured communities in CARICOM Member States were left in a general state of illiteracy. Where an education system did exist, it tended to be the European

    influenced and was based on inequality on the bases of race and class.

    CARICOM governments inherited a flawed education system, inadequate schools, high illiteracy and a system based on structural discrimination. CARICOM countries have worked hard to correct the situation. However, widespread functional illiteracy and inequitable systems of education still exist and have subverted the development efforts of these States and represent a drag upon social and economic advancement.

    European States which presided over this system of inequality have a responsibility to build on the laudable efforts of the CARICOM post-colonial regimes, build educational capacity, and provide scholarships because development requires a highly educated population.

  • 7. The Enhancement of Historical and Cultural Knowledge Exchanges

    Colonialism created the situation where European culture was forced on the populations that lived in the Region, the people forcibly brought to the Region, or those who were brought under partially voluntary contracts. This forced acculturation was based on the incorrect and racist idea that the full and rich cultures of each of these groups was ‘inferior’ and needed to be erased. European countries involved in colonialism deliberately tried to distance people from the sources of their culture and belonging.

    There was a deliberate effort on the part of responsible European countries to destroy African heritage. Other groups brought to the CARICOM region had a right to return to their homeland and learn about their history and peoples. There was no general right to return for enslaved Africans. This was a deliberate policy which created a deliberate disconnection and was part and parcel of the colonial project. This forced separation of Africans from their homeland has resulted in cultural and social alienation from identity and existential belonging.
    The forced migration of indigenous peoples to various places and countries throughout the region, as well as their mass destruction through genocide has also led to a sense of rootlessness among them.

    CARICOM Member States have spent the last
    50 years trying to reverse the impact of centuries of disconnection. Part of reparatory justice therefore requires a programme of restoration of pride and one way of doing this is to intensify efforts to rebuild ‘bridges of belonging’. The Region cannot do it alone. The years of creating this represents an undue burden on newly developing States that must tackle other development challenges.

    Programmes such as school exchanges and culture tours, community artistic and performance programs, entrepreneurial and religious engagements, as well as political interaction, are required in order to neutralize the void created by slave voyages and the forced destruction of the history and culture of indigenous and indentured groups.

    CARICOM has made important advances in the area of developing connections with the homelands in Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia to facilitate cultural exchanges. Nevertheless, expansion of the funding of these programmes is part of repairing the destruction of colonisation and to be borne by responsible European States

  • 8. Psychological Rehabilitation as a Result of the Transmission of Trauma

    The history of colonialism by certain European States has inflicted serious psychological trauma upon indigenous and African descendant populations. African and Indigenous peoples therefore need rehabilitation for their affected populations. Mental health issues need to be treated like
    other manifestations of illness.

    Medical evidence for other traumatized populations now demonstrates that there can be inter-generational transmission of trauma.
    It is plausible to argue that Africans have experienced inter-generational transmission of trauma from colonisation, the Middle Passage, enslavement, terror and brutalization, and genocide, and that this is in the DNA of the descendants of the survivors.

    Though CARICOM Member States have attempted to provide rehabilitation support for the massive incidences of psychological trauma, the scarce resources and development challenges have meant that mental health care has lagged behind. Responsible European states have an obligation to repair the psychological trauma caused by colonialism and its evils in order to assist in rebuilding full and whole men, women and children.


  • 9. The Right to Development through the Use of Technology

    For 400 years the trade and production policies of Europe could be summed up in the British slogan: “not a nail is to be made in the colonies”. This was a deliberate decision to retard the technology available for development within CARICOM Member States.

    The effectiveness of this policy meant that CARICOM Member States entered their nation building phases technologically and scientifically ill-equipped within the postmodern world economy.

    Generations of youth within the region, as a consequence, have been denied membership and access to the science and technology culture and this represents and undue burden on the development of these States. Technology transfer and science sharing for development by responsible European States are important parts of repairing the deliberate harm to the development prospects of countries within CARICOM

  • 10. Debt Cancellation and Monetary Compensation

    CARICOM governments that emerged from slavery and colonialism have inherited the massive crisis of community poverty and an inability to deal with the development of their countries because of the burdens of the legacy of colonialism.

    These governments still daily engage in the business of cleaning up the colonial mess and this forced newly emerging countries to borrow funds in order to meet their own international obligations. CARICOM Member States recognize the importance and desirability of providing the highest standards of living for their citizens. Nevertheless, the pressure of development has driven these governments to carry the burden of public employment, and has led them to create expensive social policies designed to confront colonial legacies.

    This process has resulted in states accumulating unsustainable levels of public debt that now constitutes ‘fiscal entrapment’. Since correcting the burden of colonialism has fallen on these new States, they are unable to deal with the challenges of development without taking on onerous levels of debt. This debt cycle properly belongs to the governments from the responsible European countries who have made no sustained attempt to deal with debilitating colonial legacies.

    Support for the payment of domestic debt, the cancellation of international debt, and direct monetary payments where appropriate, are necessary reparatory actions to correct the harm caused by colonialism


that slaves were taken from Africa. This is not true! People were taken from Africa, among them healers and priests, and were made into slaves.”

Abdullah Ibrahim