Jamaican Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, has joined the chorus of voices calling for reparations for slavery and colonialism. Last month, during a webinar to commemorate World Day for African and Afro-descendent Culture, Grange said a structural approach was necessary to recompense members of the African Diaspora internationally.
“Providing reparations for slavery and colonialism requires that States not only fulfill remedial obligations resulting from specific historical wrongful acts, but also to transform contemporary structures of racial injustice, inequality, discrimination and subordination that are the product of the centuries of racial machinery built through slavery and colonialism,” Grange said.
Entitled ‘People of African Descent: Defamation, Race Relations, and Development Institutions’, the webinar was held Sunday, Jan. 24 by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports and the Jamaica National Council on Reparation (NCR).
According to the Jamaica Observer, Grange said reparations should be implemented urgently under both public international law and international human rights law.
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She urged a collaborative effort between the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and NCR “to promote measures to address inherent imbalances in our historic and current social and economic landscape.”
Grange, 74, is a long-standing figure in Jamaican politics. She began her career in public service in 1997 as a Member of Parliament for Saint Catherine Central. She first became the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport when she was appointed to the role in 2007, which she served in until 2011. Grange began her latest tenure in the position in 2016.
Also using her voice in different ways, Grange co-founded Contrast, Canada’s first black community newspaper and was the Chief Executive Officer of Specs Limited and Spec-Shang Music, according to her bio on the Jamaican government’s website.
She is particularly interested in youth and women’s issues.