Beckles to European Parliament: “End colonialism in region and honour debt owed.”

Sir Hilary Beckles

— The UWI’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, called upon the European Parliament to end colonization in the region and honour its debt to the people. Invited to speak to the parliament (at a virtual international panel on December 2, 2020) during a special discussion on the poverty legacies of colonization, he reminded the audience that Europe’s economic development was funded by a brutal and inhumane system of wealth extraction from the Caribbean, leaving the region impoverished and unable to meet its economic development targets.


Sir Hilary reminded the parliament that the Caribbean remains one of the few colonized regions in the world, and that Europe’s legacy is one of continuing economic exploitation, and the politics and policies of white supremacy. The Caribbean, he said, since pushing for its independence, has taken full responsibility for its future, but he noted that the responsibility and accountability relationship is a two-way process. Europe, he stated, walked away from its obligations after committing heinous crimes against humanity in the region, stripping it of its natural resources, and enslaving its people.


Left behind as the primary legacy is the horrendous social and economic mess that Europe has refused to clean up with a development plan, but the Caribbean has a right to economic fairness and justice.


Europe’s insistence on giving aid instead of economic development funding is reflective of an obsolete mentality that has no honourable place in the 21st century. It drives, for example, the impulse to blacklist the region’s financial sector, and to be unsupportive of economic diversification strategies.


“This is a top moral priority issue in the international order,” Professor Beckles said, noting that the world is aware of the extent to which Europe plundered the Caribbean to fund its growth and development, while the region is forced to fund its own economic development with debt. Europe, he insisted, owes the West Indies an enormous debt which can be addressed by a “Marshall Plan” similar to what it offered the East Indies with the “Colombo Plan” between 1950 and 2000.


Reparatory justice, he told the gathering, is about economic development partnership and support. He congratulated the parliament for recognizing that ‘repairing this legacy’ is an idea whose time has come.


More about the event

The Inaugural Commemoration of the European Day for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, hosted by the European Parliament, took place on December 2, 2020. Among the activities on this landmark day was a virtual international panel consisting of experts in diverse areas such as history; human, social and political science; African studies; feminism; and human rights. The event was themed, the Histories and Legacies of the Transatlantic Trade and Enslavement of Africans and People of African Descent in Europe and the Caribbean with a screening of the documentary series, “Enslaved” (2020).


Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies and Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles was a featured panellist on the session titled: Repairing the Present, Building the Future. For the full event agenda visit


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  1. I endorse all the thoughts expressed by Sir Hilary. The exploitation of our peoples has to be addressed at some point. Europe’s development was funded by exploitation and crimes against humanity. Sadly, some West Indians oppose the idea of reparations and argue vehemently that somehow Africa was also complicit. Even if one were to accept that argument, it does not exonerate Europe from being the chief architect of the dastardly system. They “moved the chains from your toe [foot] and put it on your brain.” ~LogiQ Pryce

  2. If all what he said is a known, why not design a plan to fix it without begging the slave masters for assistance?

  3. Disclaimer:i never liked that man Beckles.
    That man likes to be heard.Loud mouthed like many in the Caribbean.How could you say end colonialism.When you are still eating out of the hands of the white man.Yes,the white man that all of you hate.While you are at it.Give up that colonial title of “Sir”.Sets of hypocrites.Tell all of your comrades to stop taking BOBOLS from the white man.Also tell them to stop walking on the necks of said black people.Look around the Caribbean and do an analysis on your leaders.Rank them in terns of creativity and see the results.Beg,beg and beg. Beggers all.

    • You know, there is a Latin/English combination phrase with which you may want to become familiar as it aptly describes your diatribe: non compos mentis nincompoop.

      Not even if you live to a million years could you walk in the shoes of Sir Hilary.

      • I agree with your assessment of TUNA. I’m currently having tuna for lunch and I’m so disgusted with his obvious stupidity that I’m dumping what’s left of this tasteless fish.

  4. Charity begins at home at times we colonize ourselves when our leaders are bowing to the queen and other nations that suppose to be great making decisions that dont have the interests of our people at heart , only themselves and international leaders,selling off everything we possess where they get all the benefits.

  5. If your leaders despise the ruling queen so much why not remove her from head of state?
    Do what Dominica did? Oh… Yeah, you’d NEVER do that because if you remove the head of state then you lose foreign aid. If you lose foreign aid then you’ll end up just like Dominica! China town! No dough and the Chinese will move in faster than they already are. It’s so irritating listening to a man like this. So LOUD and wanting to be heard. The EU won’t oppose paying its debts in one way or another but when you have a man like this that just makes noise and shouts about everything they’ll do nothing. Never mind the fact in the background he’s quite happy to be accepting foreign aid and doesn’t mention it.

  6. Sir Hilary, unfortunately, another legacy left by our colonial masters is our archaic, deficient, and mind-controlling educational system which our region continues to hold on to. If education is as fundamental as you and others (including myself) say it is, then let us remove the blinds from our eyes so we can see clearly. The colonial masters will not budge! Let us educate our people about our culture, our true culture, not the horse excrement that are written in most of these books.

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