Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies,
and Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, Professor Sir Hilary
Beckles commented on the letter, penned by Prime Minister Gaston Browne to
Harvard University’s President, Lawrence Bacow, demanding reparation payments
“for the gains Harvard enjoyed at the expense” of Antiguan slaves.
In a statement released to the media yesterday, Sir
Hilary said, “The leadership of the Harvard Law School is fully aware of the
truth and ethical power of Prime Minister Browne’s case, and is being urged by
its professors and students to engage the claim. Harvard Law is unique in the
USA in that its original funding came from the Caribbean and has slavery roots.
Until it deals with the ethical issues before and behind it, claims to
excellence will always be questioned by persons in pursuit of justice.”
In August this year, The UWI and the University of
Glasgow signed the first ever agreement for slavery reparations since British
Emancipation in 1838. The terms of the £20 million agreement include the
University of Glasgow’s commitment to provide £20 million to fund research to
promote development initiatives to be jointly undertaken with The UWI over the
next two decades, through a jointly-owned and managed institution to be called
the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research.