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Time to throw off ‘shackles of slavery’ says Jamaica minister

Ball and chain on wooden backgroundNational Security Minister Peter Bunting says accepting the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as Jamaica’s final court is ensuring that the island is truly emancipating itself of years of slavery.

Bunting noted that the debate on the CCJ was taking place at the same time Jamaica was involved in a debate on Reparation, saying “both address the impact of slavery and colonialism on the societies of Jamaica and the wider Caribbean”.

He told legislators earlier this week that while the Reparations debate focuses on receiving economic compensation for the enslavement of the African people, the impact of these historical crimes go far beyond just economics.

He said Caribbean academic, Professor Hilary Beckles, speaks of “the stress profile and psychological trauma of slavery and apartheid” which has left Caribbean societies psychologically broken.

“Symptoms of this brokenness are evident in a negative identity and a feeling of inferiority still carried by many. One current manifestation is the epidemic of skin bleaching which is self inflicted and probably does the victim more harm in the long term than a bout of Chik-V.

“More insidious however, is the legacy of distrust and dependency. The seeds of this distrust and dependency were deliberately sown by the plantation owners to control the slaves,” he added.

Bunting said that while he supports the calls for Reparatory Justice, it requires the cooperation of external governments and that some “elements of this Reparatory Justice we can give to ourselves in the meantime, through repatriating the symbols of our sovereignty”.

Jamaica wants to replace the London-based Privy Council with the CCJ that was established in 2001 and also serves as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the 15-member regional integration grouping.

Bunting said that the legacy of psychological indoctrination, of “divide and rule”, of “mental slavery”, is still evident in Caribbean politics and governance.

“To illustrate this we don’t have to move beyond the fact that only once in our 52 years of Independence has an entrenched section of our Constitution been changed. This is because changing an entrenched section requires the cooperation of the Opposition with the Government, and in only one case has an Opposition been able to resist the appeal of partisan political advantage and instead do what is manifestly in the interest of the nation.”

He said two remaining symbols of “our “sovereignty” illustrate how powerfully that psychological indoctrination of slavery and colonialism still affects us” namely, the British Queen as Head of State and the Privy Council.

“That we persist with these anachronisms confirms that we hold on to the belief of our own inferiority. In the case of our final court, we cling to the belief notwithstanding powerful evidence to the contrary such as: a) judges of the highest calibre are produced locally; b) the high quality of the CCJ judgments; and c) the independence of the CCJ.”

Bunting said “what we are attempting is to achieve another milestone in the continuing process of Emancipation: the more difficult component of breaking the shackles of mental slavery and healing the associated psychological trauma.

“Our people deserve to see us lead in this direction towards a national self-confidence and away from a belief in our own inferiority and a corresponding awe of our former master’s power.

What a glorious day when we no longer perceive ourselves as field slave versus house slave, light skinned versus dark skinned, green versus orange, but instead are one united people confidently facing the future,” he added.

The opposition Jamaica Labour Party has already said it will not support the island joining the CCJ unless there is a national referendum on the issue.


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Comment by Big Woman on December 10, 2014 at 12:35am
Very good points made by Mr. Bunting. It will take awhile to erase the effects of centuries of colonalism but this action of replacing The Privy Council with the Carribean Court of Justice is a excellent move on the road to true independence. God bless them.
Comment by Rachel Rothechild on December 7, 2014 at 11:09am

Jamaica has Not Emancipated Itself When The Queen has Autonomy Of The Armed Forces And The Supreme court Is In England. We Are Still Slaves Without The Shackles. The Shackles Are Around And Embedded in our Brains.

Comment by Sandra Fuller on December 7, 2014 at 7:43am

He is absolutely correct in what he is saying!

Comment by Roots aka TJ What De Ras on December 6, 2014 at 9:33pm
Who cares

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