Richard Drax must come to the table, says David Comissiong

David Comissiong, Barbados’ ambassador to CARICOM, says Richard Drax is missing the opportunity to be a “representative of the national honor of the United Kingdom”.

Comissiong is one of several advocates calling on Drax to transfer land from the Drax Hall Plantation – a former slavery plantation in Saint George, Barbados – that he owns to the state as a “reparations gesture.”

Ambassador David Commissiong

In a lively conversation with the Repair Campaign team about the fight for reparations for the heinous crime of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans and slavery, Comissiong said:

“Drax is probably the most hated man in Barbados today. If he had just done the right thing, he could have been a hero in Barbados; a descendant of this infamous Barbadian slavery family who did the right thing and reached out in the right way. He could have set such a positive example.”

Highlighting the tension between Drax’s moral obligation as an elected official to do the right thing and his “I don’t owe these people anything” stance, Comissiong questioned the integrity of an individual serving at the highest levels of the British government serves and raises awareness of the attitudes of people in Britain towards their elected representatives.

“Responsible people in Britain should be very concerned about this, not only in relation to our own interest in reparations, but this gentleman is a Member of Parliament. He is seen as a representative of the people of Britain in the highest political office,” Comissiong said.

Underlining that restorative justice is about creating “a future based on mutual understanding and partnership, as opposed to bitterness and blame,” Comissiong calls on public advocacy and “allies in Britain” to bring Richard Drax to the table to map convey how the serious actions of the past can be transformed into positive and restorative affirmative action.

“Drax has cast himself as the nemesis of the recovery campaign in Barbados, but we must bring him to the table and use public advocacy. We need our allies in Britain.”

Recent research by The Repair Campaign into British attitudes to restorative justice shows how out of touch Drax is with British sentiment on the issue of reparations. Here, 60 percent of respondents agree that Caribbean countries and descendants of enslaved people should do this. receive a formal apology.

Among those who agree that Caribbean countries and descendants of enslaved people should receive a formal apology, 56 percent believe this apology should come from the British government, while 36 percent say families whose ancestors benefited from the slavery in the Caribbean should expand the apology. .

Notably, with four in ten people agree that Caribbean countries should receive financial compensation to make up for the legacy of slavery and colonialism, 51 percent believe the British government should be the entity to pay this financial compensation, while 32 percent believes that families whose ancestors benefited from slavery in the Caribbean should pay compensation.

Go here to read the full interview and join the movement by signing the petition here.