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September 30, 2012
To: Barbadians and Friends of Barbados at Home and Abroad
From: ‘The Decade for People of African Descent (DPAD) Barbados Chapter’
What follows below is essential equipment for every conscious Barbadian and Friend of Barbados at Home or Abroad.
‘United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent 2013-2023’:
Proposed International Day for Recognition, Justice and Development;
Barbados’ contribution so far.
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On 12th October the grounds of Barbados Museum will be the setting for commemorating one of the world’s most significant events. The occasion is to mark the 520th anniversary (1492-2012) of Europeans presents in the “New World”, our Caribbean/Americas region. The navigators on this historic voyage of 1492 were Moors (Africans) led by Christopher Columbus. That event opened the gateway to the transatlantic trade in Africans and of Europeans disastrous invasions in the “New World”.
To commemorate this 520th anniversary of conflict-ridden existences for non-white peoples, the ‘Decade for People of African Descent (DPAD) Barbados Chapter Inc.’a Civil Society organisation, will stage a cultural event at the Barbados Museum on Friday, 12th October at 7:30pm. It will feature some of Barbados’ top artists and actors. The main attraction will be an imaginary dialog between the late Rt. Excellency Errol Barrow and Lord Horatio Nelson; representing African people and the Imperialists.
The importance of this inaugural event being held in Barbados is for two main reasons:
- The history of Barbados “Little England” informs us that the island was the first full blown slave society; the place where “conditioning” was perfected for breaking the African man/woman and making a slave. This was substantiated by Prof. Hilary Beckles who informed delegated at the 8th African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre from 17-19 September 2012 of the Barbados ‘Slave Act’ of 1661 that legalised chattel enslavement and influenced such practices in other colonial territories;
- It comes on the eve of the United Nations’ Decade for People of African Descent, which commences January 1, 2013 to advance repairing the damage done.
Barbados was colonised by the British in 1627 and never changed colonial hands. The island was an important administrative centre for British colonial rule in the English speaking Caribbean. It was also a transhipment centre of enslaved persons to other territories. According to Prof. Beckles the island was referred to by an enslaved African in 1694 as “A place worse than Hell”. The Prof. further stated that during this time Barbados was considered “the most valuable peace of Real Estate in the world”.
In recent times the transatlantic trade in Africans, chattel enslavement and colonialism has all been deemed crimes against humanity. With this background, it is fitting that Barbados should be a leading player in the final stages of the liberation for people of African descent by de-colonisation of the mind. Transforming the island from “being a place worse than Hell” to being a paradise, from “Little England” to “Little Ghana”, so said Prof. Beckles.
Programme of Action
In September 1990 a programme of action towards advancing the de-colonisation of the mind, which takes into consideration the philosophy and opinions of many present and past warrior stalwarts, including the likes of Right Excellency Marcus Mosiah Garvey and Ivan Van Sertima on whose classic work “They Came Before Columbus” the 12th October proposal is fashioned, was launched in Barbados and subsequently at the Barbados High Commission in London.
The programme is to raise consciousness and further the works for equal rights and justice. It includes the 12th October as a preferred date for Truth, Justice, Peace, Healing and Reconciliation. When this proposal was first communicated to Heads of States and International NGOs worldwide in 1990 a significant number replied, indicating their support.
In 1995 a Draft Resolution for 12th October as a Universal Day of Hope for truth, justice, peace and healing was submitted to the Government of Barbados for consideration by CARICOM member states and onward submission to the United Nations.
In 1998 the Government of Barbados established a Commission for Pan-African Affairs (CPAA) – the first and only such agency of any government. This unique department was located in the Office of the Prime Minister and given a mandate to raise the consciousness of Barbadians with regard to their African Heritage. In addition, the CPAA was to reach out and consult with African peoples internationally. The programme of action with the 12th October proposal was a key component of CPAA’s activities.
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In 1999 the CPAA hosted a Pan-African international conference to establish a ‘Think Tank’ for Africans and to mobilise support for its mandate. Also in 1999 the agency advised Government that the time was appropriate for a ‘National Consultation on Racism’. A Committee was established and a consultation undertaken.
In 2000 the ‘Committee for National Reconciliation’ produced its report entitled ‘A Shared Vision for the 21st Century’. The finding of the consultation identified a number of areas in Barbadians social life that needed repair due to the legacies of the transatlantic trade in Africans, chattel enslavement and colonialism.
The conclusion drawn from the report is that there has never been a period in the history of Barbados when equal rights and justice or equally was accessible, practice or seriously considered amongst the different ethnic groups. The recommendations in this report are yet to be fully implemented.
Further in 2000 Barbados was also host to the 2nd Caribbean meeting on the Cultural Tourism programme of the UNESCO/WTO Slave Route Project. The objective of the meeting was to rehabilitate, restore and promote the tangible and intangible heritage resulting from the transatlantic slave trade, for the purpose of cultural tourism.
In 2001 the United Nations (UN) held a World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa. This was the third in a series of conferences, a programme of action (from 1973) to develop strategies for eradicating racism. The Draft Resolution for the 12th October proposal that was submitted to the Government of Barbados in 1995 was amongst the resolutions presented to this conference.
The consensus of this Durban conference deemed the transatlantic trade in Africans, slavery and colonialism as all crimes against humanity. Compensation for the descendants of enslaved persons is amongst the many finding highlighted in the ‘Durban Declaration and Programme of Action’. This report compliments the finding in the Barbados report of 2000. The staff of CPAA and Barbados’ Civil Society Pan-Africanists played critical roles in the process leading up to and in the Durban conference. They also mobilised the Caribbean delegates into action at the conference.
In 2002 Barbados was honoured for its action by being host for the first follow-up to the Durban Conference; the ‘Afrikan and Afrikan Descendants World Conference against Racism’. At this conference the issue of reparations was again identified as a major factor in healing the wounds resulting from the legacies of the transatlantic trade in Africans and chattel enslavement. The said resolution for 12th October as a Day Hope for peoples of African descent was submitted and endorsed at this conference. Also the international reparations NGO – the ‘Global Afrikan Congress’ was formed and a report entitled ‘The Bridgetown Protocol’ produced.
Further in 2002 the said 12th October proposal was endorsed at the African Hebrews Israelites of Jerusalem (Dimona community) writers conference.
In 2002 also, the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) transformed itself into the African Union (AU). During this time the Office of the UN’s High Commission for Human Right established a ‘Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent’ (WGEPAD) to monitor the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA). The promoters of the 12th October proposal fully supported the formation of the AU and the WGEPAD mandate to monitor the DDPA.
In 2003 the AU made a decision to bring about a significant shift in African consciousness. It recommended that the Diaspora be the sixth region of Africa within a United States of Africa.
In 2003 the 12th October proposal was given impetus when People of African Diaspora in Guyana designated this date as “Maafa Day”. It is celebrated annually.
In 2007 Barbados was host to a regional Diaspora conference sponsored by the Republic of South Africa and the AU to advance the proposal for a United States of Africa. The 12th October proposal was among the discussion at this conference.
In 2007 also during the bicentennial commemorations of the Act that abolished the British Slave Trade in 1807, the Barbados House of Parliament passed its own resolution on slavery. Whilst the Prime Minister was in London he called on the British Government to take the lead and start the process of making reparations to the descendants of enslaved Africans.
Further in 2007 the 12th October proposal was presented to the people on the African continent via the Ghana Broadcasting Cooperation for consideration during the Joseph Project events. During this time African Diaspora people in Spain began celebrating 12th October as Reparations’ Day. In addition the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church Windward Islands District acknowledged support for the 12th October proposal.
UN’s International Day for People of African Descent
In 2009 the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (WGEPAD) motivated by Obama’s election victory recommended that 2011 be an ‘International Year for People of African Descent’ (IYPAD) with the theme Recognition, Justice, Development. In 2010 at its 9th session it further recommended that there should be an ‘International Day for People of African Descent’ (IDPAD). At this session the said 12th October proposal was submitted by Barbados’ delegation for consideration as the IDPAD. In 2011 the working group of experts reaffirmed a proposed for a ‘Decade for People of African Descent’ (DPAD) commencing January 1, 2013, with the same theme Recognition, Justice, Development.
Resulting from these recommendations a NGO the ‘International Year for People of African Descent (IYPAD) Barbados Chapter’ was formed to monitor and promote action on the above. The IYPAD Barbados Chapter has now been restructured to assist in furthering the objectives for the ‘Decade for People of African Descent (DPAD). This reformed NGO is called the ‘DPAD Barbados Chapter’.
In May 2012 the African Union hosted a Global African Diaspora Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. The 12th October proposal was tabled at this conference for consideration by the Republic of Suriname as the IDPAD. This historic gathering produced a declaration and programme of action which is now to be implemented. (Google GADS). In addition, in June the WGEPAD also produced and submitted a programme of action to the UN for the Decade for People of African Descent commencing January 1, 2013 (Google DPAD).
On August 31 and September 1, 2012 the Government held a National Consultation with the theme; “The Changing Barbadians Society: Shaping a Brighter Tomorrow”. The 12th October proposal was recommended for consideration.
From 17-19 September 2012 Barbados was host to the 8th African Diaspora Heritage Trail (ADHT) Conference with the theme; Our Heritage, Our identity: Uncover, Recover, Discover. This annual event by the ADHT Bermuda Foundation places the host country under the microscope to examine how it has been affected by slavery. According to reports from the conference it was a resounding success. The youth in particular, were adamant that the time has come for them to be adequately informed of their African Heritage. Our Heritage, Our identity: Uncover, Recover, Discover.
Every effort was made to get the 12th October proposal considered at this conference. Many questions were raised and Barbadians were presented with the perfect opportunity to prepare themselves for the Decade for People of African Descent 2013-2023. The 9th African Diaspora Heritage Trail (ADHT) Conference will be held in Louisiana USA next year and will conclude on 12th October, the start of the Decade (Google the 9th ADHT conference).
Africa is the Birthplace of Humankind, the Mother of Civilisation;
- Observance of 12th October as the ‘International Day for Peoples of African Descent’ is to put into context, give support and encouragement and to promote the celebrations of all global observance days associated with African peoples as symbols of solidarity for the commemoration of our common heritage and visions of Africa and its Diaspora.
- To strengthen Global African Unity and Identity as we Uncover, Recover and Discover who we are as peoples of African Ancestory.
These essential factors are relevant to the General Elections pending in Barbados for 2013. It is up to us as individual voters to ensure that our parliamentary representatives commit themselves to the development of our universal free public education with true appreciation of our African Heritage at its centre.
Barbadians our future is in our hands, let us make our future better. Know your History.
Further information Tel: (246) 428-3520 / 265-8849 Email: email@example.com
IYPAD Barbados NGO Chapter| Administration Section
Reparations, restoration and justice In remembrance of the Pioneers that went before us and who’s shoulders we stand upon
REPARATIONS CONFERENCE 2015
Registration – Repairing the Past, Imagining the Future: Reparations and Beyond… http://t.co/GJJJoR3dcp via @MemoriesSlavery