$18 million reparations project to address ‘wounds’

We are deeply disturbed and ashamed of this history and we wish to say sorry. To repent of this history.”

That was part of an apology for slavery yesterday from general secretary of the United Kingdom-based United Society Partners in the Gospel (USPG), Reverend Duncan Dormor, for the Codrington Estate’s role in the enslavement of Africans.

It was followed by the announcement during a press conference at the historic Codrington College in St John of a $18 million reparations project to address the enduring wounds caused by slavery.

“I am here to express on behalf of the USPG, the successor organisation to SPG (Society For Propagation of The Gospel in Foreign Parts) . . . our wholehearted and profound apology to what SPG did here at Codrington,” Dormor said.

The priest said he was expressing deep remorse for the Society’s actions, for the historic damage and the intergenerational legacies that unfolded as the agency “fully acknowledge and accept responsibility for those historic actions”. The USPG is the Anglican mission agency that partners with churches and communities worldwide.

The multimillion-dollar project is to redress the wrongs of the SPG in relation to how it owned, managed and exploited the black labour of African descent at Codrington Estates, St John, during the system of plantation slavery.

Dormor said the Renewal & Reconciliation: The Codrington Reparations Project was in partnership with Codrington Trust/Church in the Province of the West Indies, in Barbados.

Build trust

USPG has pledged, in response to proposals Codrington Trust advanced, that the funds will be spent over the next ten to 15 years in four areas of collaboration with the descendants of the enslaved. The project is expected to build trust and relationship, conduct research to locate burial places of enslaved persons who worked on the estates, document findings and establish monuments to memorialise those persons, and connect kinship and family groups. (JS)

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