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Caribbean Updates: British aristocrats to pay Grenada reparations (February 8, 2023)

Caribbean updates
Caribbean updates

The aristocratic British Trevelyan family will make history paying reparations to the people of Grenada, where it owned six sugar plantations, and publicly apologizing for its ownership of more than 1,000 enslaved people, reports the Guardian.

BBC reporter Laura Trevelyan, a family member, visited Grenada last year. She was shocked that her ancestors had been compensated by the UK government when slavery was abolished in 1833 – but formerly enslaved people got nothing, reports the BBC. In 1835, the Trevelyan family received £26,898, a large sum of money at the time.

A £100,000 fund, donated by Laura Trevelyan will be formally launched in Grenada on 27 February by Sir Hilary Beckles, chair of the Caricom Reparations Commission, and Trevelyan family members.

Seven members of the family will travel to Grenada later this month to issue a public apology. Forty-two members of the family have already signed a letter of apology for its enslavement of captive Africans and more signatures are expected.

More Racial Justice and Reparations

  • The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum exhibit that explored the contested history of the Dutch colonial era, now dubbed “Slavery. Ten True Stories of Dutch Colonial Slavery,” spans 250 years of the Dutch colonial history, from the 17th to the 19th century, considering personal and real-life stories from those who lived during the period. (Repeating Islands)

  • Identity is often fraught for multiracial Douglas, people of both South Asian and African descent in the Caribbean. In a groundbreaking volume titled Dougla in the Twenty-First Century: Adding to the Mix Sue Ann Barratt and Aleah N. Ranjitsingh explore the particular meanings of a Dougla identity and examine Dougla maneuverability both at home and in the diaspora. (Caribbean StudiesNew Books Network)


  • There is no official figure for those missing after leaving Cuba, as increasing numbers of desperate people attempt to migrate. While many of the disappeared may have died, relatives believe many people have been detained in the Bahamas. (El ToqueAssociated Press)

  • Special migratory regularization programs have become increasingly common across Latin America and the Caribbean over the course of the 2000s and 2010s, according to an IDB report that highlights recent programs in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Peru. (Americas Migration Brief)

Citizen Security

  • Jamaica would be willing to deploy soldiers and police officers to Haiti as part of a multinational force requested by Haiti’s government. Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that both Jamaica’s military and police forces have been alerted and have started to plan for the possibility of deployment to Haiti. (Miami Herald)

Democratic Governance

  • Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry formally installed a transition council whose job will be to prepare for long-delayed elections. There are currently no elected officials in the country, which last held a presidential vote in 2016. (Reuters)

Human Rights

  • Former Surinamese president and military strong man, Desi Bouterse, said his 20-year jail sentence in relation to his complicity in the murder of 15 men in 1982, “came as no surprise,” as the acting Attorney General, Carmen Rasam, said that his “victims were riddled with a hail of bullets.” (Loop NewsAFP)

  • Prosecutors in Suriname have asked the High Court of Justice to uphold a 20-year jail sentence, which Bouterse appealed, reports the BBC.

  • Haiti’s humanitarian crisis has left half the country’s children reliant on aid to survive, according to Unicef. At least 2.6 million are expected to need immediate lifesaving assistance this year, reports the Guardian.

  • The femicide of 17-year-old Leidy Bacallao Santana in Cuba, likely killed by her 50-year-old ex boyfriend, casts light on the problematic national acceptance of romantic unions involving girls below the legal age of consent, writes Eloy Viera Cañive in El Toque.

  • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called for countries in the region to reinforce protections for women and girls seeking abortions, after observing measures that “go backwards” last year. (Reuters)

  • A cervical cancer vaccination plan in Jamaica was significantly set back by the Covid pandemic. But even before, the HPV vaccination program for girls under 15 ran into trouble in a country where many families disapprove of premarital sex, reports the Guardian.

  • Known to the wider world as corporal punishment, “licks” to punish children are a “staple of Caribbean life,” according to Loop, which shares reader memories of past beatings.

Climate Justice and Energy

  • Leaked video footage from a deep-sea mining test by a Canadian company has raised questions about the largely untested nature of the industry, and the possible harms it could do to ecosystem. Experts say deep-sea mining could kick up clouds of sediment containing toxic heavy metals and impact marine life, reports the Guardian. (See JCU post for Dec. 15, 2021)

  • Caribbean countries battered by high energy costs are turning to Venezuela for oil and gas as the U.S. eases sanctions that have kept its supplies off limits for years, reports the Wall Street Journal.

  • Trinidad and Tobago-based Climate Analytics Caribbean held a regional COP27 review to raise awareness of how the milestone international agreements will impact the region, particularly the commitment to establish a Loss and Damage fund, reports Loop News.

  • Parliamentarians for Global Action has created the Factsheet for Parliamentarians: The Escazú Agreement, an Environmental and Human Rights Treaty.

  • A new document by the Alliance of Small Island States provides guidance for development assistance in SIDS.

Economics and Finance

  • Large financial deficits in Caribbean small island developing states are holding back not only efforts to adapt to the warming climate, but also capacity building and development, according to Climate Analytics.

  • A high-stakes trial in the UK between an investment fund and the Cuban government over Castro-era debt is seen as a test case on defaulted sovereign debt. (CNBC)


  • British writer Eleanor Shearer (granddaughter of Windrush generation immigrants, and author of River Sing Me Home) recommends a reading list of Caribbean authors for Literary Hub.

  • Grifas (Afrocaribeñas al habla), a comprehensive anthology of works compiled by poet Laura Ruiz Montes and edited by Ingry González, was recently awarded the 2022 Literary Criticism Award. (Repeating Islands)

  • Bad Bunny at the Grammys — Repeating Islands


  • 9 and 10 Feb. — Online symposium “Reparations under International Law for Enslavement of African Persons in the Americas and the Caribbean” convened by Judge Patrick Robinson of the International Court of Justice. (Register)

  • 16 Feb. — Austerity: Extent, Gendered Impacts, and Feminist Economic Alternatives — Register


  • Apply — Envisioning Resilience:  Application to Climate Photography Training for Young Women & Girls

Just Caribbean Updates

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