PM says opportunity missed at Commonwealth meeting

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer has admitted the country missed an opportunity at the recently concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia, to press the case for reparations.

Spencer, who attended the CHOGM meeting that ended on Sunday, said he missed the chance to press the case for compensation from the former colonial masters.

“It didn’t come up specifically and I suppose that might have been an opportunity missed but you would have noticed I spoke to the issue at the United Nations, I repeated it in my Independence address here in Antigua & Barbuda,” Spencer said.

However, the PM said he is still confident there will be enough opportunities to press the case for reparations.

“It is matter that is topical and I believe the issue will find its way through the various avenues that we will find over the next several months to address this issue, particularly in light of the fact that this year is regarded as the Year of People of African descent,” Spencer said.

In September, Spencer pressed the case at the annual general debate of the United Nations (UN) in New York.

He argued that segregation and violence against people of African descent had impaired their capacity for advancement as nations, communities and individuals.

“None should disagree that racism and other legacies of slavery continue to shape the lives of people of African descent – thus reparations must be directed toward repairing the damage inflicted by slavery and racism,” Spencer had said.

“And to help counter the lingering damage inflicted on generations of peoples of African descent by generations of slave-trading and colonialism, we call on those very states to back up their apologies with new commitments to the economic development of the nations that have suffered from this human tragedy,” Spencer added.

(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)