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House: African studies proposal welcomed

Plans to boost African studies in the public school system sparked a discussion on race in the House of Assembly during the motion to adjourn on Friday.

Rolfe Commissiong, a Progressive Labour Party MP, said the move had been agreed in a party caucus well before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Commissiong said the change in school content also preceded “the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which became the catalyst for the worldwide protests with its slogan being the very apt ‘Black Lives Matter'”.

Mr Commissiong said Bermuda and the United States had been pushed into acting on the principles of democracy by the descendants of the oppressed.

Christopher Famous, a PLP backbencher, told the House there should be reparations paid to the descendants of slaves.

Mr Famous said: “We in Bermuda, and our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, were there because of slavery — plain and simple.”

He highlighted the global social justice movement, which had led to removal of monuments that commemorated historical figures who had profited from slavery.

Mr Famous said: “Now there's a reckoning over black lives matter, we can't sit and say we are just going to accept Aunt Jemima's or Uncle Ben's name getting changed.”

He added: “No. Those that profited off our labour have to pay.”

Progressive Labour Party MP Rolfe Commissiong (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published July 06, 2020 at 3:58 pm (Updated July 06, 2020 at 3:58 pm)

House: African studies proposal welcomed

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