FROM colonialism to independence, the Castries town and city councils and the Town and City Hall, have long been central to public discussion and debate in our island and nation’s capital. This has been the place where citizens and townspeople have gathered to discuss public affairs and engage in other educational and uplifting cultural activities like staging of plays and competitive musical and cultural events.
This is where discussions took place about different stages in our constitutional development, from Adult Suffrage or the right to vote for the majority of Saint Lucians in 1951 to statehood in 1967 and the designation of Castries as a city before Saint Lucia became Independent. And this too is where many discussions on different types of Independence – Political, Constitutional, Economic and Cultural – were hosted by a small political grouping called the Workers Revolutionary Movement in 1978.
And here too is where issues of importance to the citizens of the five Castries constituencies continue to be deliberated on to this day, which is why we at the M&CC are pleased to be associated with this exercise of launching a national consultation on the important issue of Reparations for Slavery and Native Genocide.
When the NRC Chair contacted us about this event in the 10th year of its existence, we felt it was a good opportunity to invite citizens of Castries to come here this evening and tell the government and its CARICOM partners what WE THE CITIZENS want from Reparations.
This is an important democratic exercise and we resorted to the traditional means of sending a Town Crier around the five Castries constituencies to invite citizens to turn out tonight.
Other constituencies and local government authorities are invited to join us and the NRC in this national consultation exercise and while unavoidably absent, I am here in wholehearted spirit and support as we look forward to hearing from the people on the reparations that are being sought from Europe.
On behalf of the M&CC, I commend the NRC and its members for their decade of voluntary service for the cause of a better humanity for Saint Lucia through collection of debts overdue to generations of Saint Lucians of African descent whose ancestors were implanted from the continent.
I once again wholeheartedly endorse this national exercise and look forward to its continuation in 2024, in every constituency across the island, towards better understanding of Reparations and Reparatory Justice.
I also close with full thanks and praises to Councilor Timothy James and all in our management and administrative teams who helped make his evening a new reflection of the continuing engagement of the M&CC and City Hall in formulation of discourse on issues and matter of national importance.
I wish you all the best in this evening’s deliberations on Reparations for Saint Lucia from the UK, France and Europe, for Slavery and Native Genocide.
I thank you.