(NATCOM) – Basseterre, 27 May 2015: The National Commission for UNESCO has announced plans to host a Sub-Regional Slave Route Conference that will be based on the theme: “Beyond Reparations: Strengthening the Slave Route Project in the Caribbean Region”. The Conference will be held from 7th to 8th July 2015 at the St. Kitts Marriott Hotel and will bring together experts and representatives from across the Caribbean to discuss ways and means of strengthening the Slave Route Project in the region and fostering collaboration between and among Caribbean countries. The Conference is being organized within the framework of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the UNESCO International Scientific Committee of the Slave Route Project as well as the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
According to the new Chair of the National Slave Route Committee, Mrs. Nerys Dockery, the organizing committee is excited and looking forward to this event which is the first of its kind to be pursued within the region. “The conference”, states Mrs. Dockery, “ aims to bring together some of the essential actors, whether they be academicians, policy-makers or representatives of non-governmental organizations within civil society, who have played an essential role in pursuing the objectives of the Slave Route Committee in their various jurisdictions: such as championing the preservation and promotion of our common heritage and sites of memory; developing scientific research and pedagogical material on the trade in Africans, slavery and its consequences or finding ways and means of connecting this rich history to the economic development of countries across the region.” “The imperative to come together at this juncture could not be clearer or more timely”, she stated, “it is now time to begin a conversation as to how we can work together, share information and create synergies so that we can all advance our objectives and derive benefits as a collective, as one region”.
What has made this venture so exciting, the Chair went on to say, is the remarkable level of interest shown by regional representatives and the distinguished roster of experts like Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Dr. Alvin Thompson, Dr. Ahmed Reid and Dr. Tara Iniss who will share their expertise with us and help us define a plan of action moving forward that would be effective and impactful.
One of the main highlights of the conference will be the Symposium that will be held on the theme “The Fight for Reparations in the Caribbean Sub-region: Pipe Dream or Reality?” during which the general public will have the opportunity to engage the panel of experts, which will include Sir Beckles, on a topic that has generated almost equal portions of interest, enthusiasm and skepticism among the people of our region.
The Symposium is scheduled to be held on 7th July 2015 at the Sir Cecil Jacob Auditorium, Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and will be open, free of charge, to the general public.
“The UNESCO National Slave Route Committee”, said it’s Chair, “is pleased to organize such a phenomenal and novel event in St. Kitts and Nevis, which, given its rich history and position as the British “Mother Colony”, should take the lead in bringing the region together to address the legacy borne from that colonial experience.”
Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO, Mr. Antonio Maynard indicated that he is “pleased to have Mrs. Dockery on board to assist with the execution of this project”. “I have every confidence that this event will be a most impactful and memorable one”.