Former Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines thinks the idea of Caribbean states demanding reparations from European powers for slave trade is “stupid”.
Mitchell said it is no secret that slavery was cruel and nobody needs to explain what it caused to many generations of African ancestors and families, but he believes it is time to move on.
“It is like somebody telling you that Jesus is a Christian,” the former SVG prime minister said while addressing the 39th Annual United Workers Party (UWP) Convention on Sunday.
Mitchell said Caribbean citizens have various ethnicity, stating that there is no one colour in any home in the Caribbean or Saint Lucia, because “we all mix up.”
He said he had a white father and a black grandfather and was wondering, “who will compensate who?”
Mitchell said Caribbean governments need to ask which of the European countries will compensate them, since the Dutch, British and French all played critical roles in slavery.
“What we should be concentrating on, is how we can get the industrial developed countries to spend more money on us. We have to learn to forget about the word slavery,” he remarked.
Mitchell said Caribbean people should concentrate on working hard and regardless of their trade or profession; they should always seek to get on top and improve their quality of life.
Most of the Caribbean nations have adopted a single plan to solicit from former slaving nations an apology, more aid and damages for 300 years of slavery, which they say have hobbled their economies and public health.
They are also seeking debt cancellation, greater development aid as well as unspecified financial damages for the persisting “psychological trauma” from the days of plantation slavery.
The demands are being made of former slaving nations: Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and The Netherlands.
The Atlantic slave trade took place from the 16th through to the 19th centuries.