Professor Verene Shepherd says that Jamaica’s thrust to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through Vision 2030 will only be a pipe dream if countries such as Spain and Britain do not own up to their responsibility and pay out reparations for centuries of forced labour and decades of underdevelopment as they ravaged Caribbean’s resources to enrich colonial empires.
Shepherd, the director of the Centre for Reparation Research at The University of the West Indies, Mona, told The Gleaner that the current levels of underdevelopment in Jamaica and other Caribbean nations are as a direct result of the legacy of slavery and colonialism.
“I am giving credit to our post-colonial regimes for doing their best, but they need to understand that it’s not grants and loans that we need,” Shepherd said. “Rather, it’s an injection of capital to fix our society. Otherwise, we will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and we will not achieve Vision 2030.”
She said that reparation is now framed within the context of the right to development.
“Look at how much of the dollar goes back into to debt servicing. We are saying to Britain and all the others: ‘Fix back Jamaica and the other Caribbean islands so we can really compete with you and truly be partners.’