Centre for Reparation Research

Professor Verene Shepherd


The Centre for Reparation Research (CRR), commenced operations in March 2017 though officially launched in October 2017. The Centre was created to promote research on, and advocacy around the legacies of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, African enslavement and colonialism in the Caribbean; and help to bring justice and positive transformation to societies affected by these legacies.

As the Centre enters its third year of existence, its experts commit to continue to research, write and disseminate information on what has become a global reparatory justice movement. The CRR, therefore, supports and contributes to the implementation of CARICOM’s Reparatory Justice Programme (CRJP). It also supports long-standing reparatory justice advocates, including Rastafari, civil society groups and individual academics, politicians and national reparation committees/councils/advisory groups locally, regionally and internationally. The Centre has embraced an additional responsibility – working with DISCUS at The UWI and other educational institutions, including Caribbean secondary schools, to promote education on colonial legacies and the need for justice and repair. Further it promotes advocacy for reparatory justice by building capacity, providing consultancies to CARICOM and other institutions, raising public awareness, and supporting activism related to reparatory justice.

The CRR embodies the goals of The UWI’s Triple A Strategy 2017-2022: to advance learning, create knowledge and foster innovation for the positive transformation of the Caribbean through access, alignment and agility. The Centre’s primary, interlocking objectives are

  • To broadly foster awareness around the lasting and adverse consequences of colonialism in the Caribbean; and
  • To offer practical solutions to halting and reversing them.

Both objectives are based in an understanding that many of the injustices and adverse effects of colonialism in the Caribbean did not end with formal independence and still need to be addressed and repaired.

The increased awareness, advanced learning and practical solutions expected to result from the CRR’s work to achieve these objectives will ultimately allow for the positive transformation of the region.


The CRR’s goal to promote research on the legacies of colonialism, native genocide, enslavement and indentureship in the Caribbean; as well as strategies for justice and positive transformation contributes directly to its institutional strategic pillar - Access.

As the CRR’s research continues to highlight how history reverberates in the present, how the present has been influenced by the past and solutions to the problems left by colonialism, the Centre seeks to aid regional educational efforts in the following ways:

  • promoting education at The UWI and across Caribbean school systems on the legacies of colonialism, enslavement and native genocide and the need for justice and repair, particularly necessary with the CAPE History syllabus now containing a theme on reparation.
  • li>supporting improvement in the quality of learning and student development on reparation at The UWI li>Supporting improvement in the quality and impact of research on reparation at The UWI.

In the period under review, in keeping with the University’s status as a global university that encourages diversity, the Centre has hosted and collaborated on a number of seminars, workshops and conferences which bring together national, regional and international speakers. In the future, the CRR will pursue collaborations across The UWI’s DISCUS (University Departments, Institutes, Schools, Centres, Units and Sites).


The establishment of the CRR has already resulted in academic and industry partnerships and collaborations with institutions both regionally and internationally. Advocates such as the National African-American Reparation Coalition in the USA, Global African Congress in the UK, and National Committees of the CARICOM countries, now have collaborative relationships with the Centre.

This also fulfils another main goal of the CRR which is the promotion of advocacy for reparatory justice by the building of capacity for:

  • consultancy to CARICOM, Caribbean states, the UN and other relevant institutions;
  • raising public awareness and;
  • supporting activism for reparatory and decolonial justice from grassroots to governments.

The CRR’s capacity to promote advocacy is integral to its practical, solution-oriented and extroverted focus. As such, the Centre is committed to its roles as a consultant, a raiser of consciousness, and an activist on matters of colonial legacies and decolonisation. The CRR has been approached by industries and establishments with ties to slavery to assist them in managing their public response. Some of these partnerships will result in the generation of funds for the Centre/The UWI.


Although the CRR may not achieve a physical presence on all continents, there is the potential to make its presence and that of The UWI, felt globally. In pursuit of this, the CRR has embarked on the establishment of two international committees: an Advisory Committee and a Network of Scholars, which will have members from academia and civil society, regardless of their physical location, as the electronic/digital age facilitates alternative forms of collaboration.


Core Staff

The CRR is directed by Social Historian and member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Professor Verene A. Shepherd, OD, who is also a Vice-Chair of the CARICOM Reparations Commission. The core staff complement is completed by a Research Assistant, a Project Officer, Mrs Jonessa Wright-Baker and an Administrative Assistant, Mr Floyd Williams.

In August 2019 Ms. Jodi-Ann Quarrie, Research Assistant, who had been with the CRR since the start of 2018 resigned. She was replaced by Ms. Gabrielle Hemmings.

Visiting Staff
  • Visiting Professor: Dr Ahmed Reid, Professor of History at the City University of New York – June–August 2017; June–August 2018
  • Research Assistant: Mr Jonathan Adams, Guyana Reparations Committee – November 2018–March 2019
  • Visiting Fellow: Mr Chevy Eugene, PhD Candidate, York University in Toronto – July–August 2019
  • The CRR has also hosted a number of volunteers within the period under review. Currently, due to the lack of physical space within the department, volunteers generally work two days of each week on specific research related activities. Several persons also sought affiliation status and volunteered to contribute to the advancement of the Centre’s research work.

    Staff Achievements

    CRR’s Research Assistant, Ms. Jodi-Ann Quarrie was selected as one of the 2018 Fellows in the Fellowship Programme of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent. She completed her fellowship in Geneva, Switzerland.

    Departmental Activities

    During the reporting period the Centre has continued to host and collaborate on a number of activities. Some of the major initiatives including conferences and seminars attended included:

    • September 12, 2018: The Director participated in a Reparation interview with Nationwide 90 FM
    • October 9, 2018 – November 1, 2018: The CRR part-sponsored the African-Caribbean Institute of Jamaica’s (ACIJ) Reparation Debate
    • October 19, 2018: The CRR hosted Professor Brian Meeks of Brown University for a seminar entitled “Cleaning up the Colonial Mess: Persistent Poverty and Social Decline”
    • October 30, 2018: The CRR part-sponsored the Rita Marley Foundation’s Schools’ Public Speaking Competition
    • November 19–28, 2018: The CRR’s Research Assistant was in Geneva after as a 2018 Fellow in the Fellowship Programme of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent
    • November 20, 2018: The Director participated in an interview with the UK’s KREOL magazine
    • January 22, 2019: The Director participated in a radio interview with ZDK Liberty Radio, Antigua
    • February 4, 2019: The Director presented a paper at the Rex Nettleford Hall’s Black History Month Forum
    • February 15, 2019: The Research Assistant served as a judge in the annual Rita Marley competition
    • February 20, 2019: The Director made a presentation on Reparation to the Jamaica Baptist Union, Montego Bay
    • February 28, 2019: The CRR hosted the first annual Africa Appreciation Day and Reparation Reasoning on the grounds of the RHQ, The UWI
    • March 8–10, 2019: The Director and Research Assistant conducted the Ikemba Workshop in Guyana
    • March 13, 2019: The Director gave the Keynote Address at the Archaeological Society of Jamaica’s Annual General Meeting
    • March 14, 2019: The CRR hosted 6th Form students of Glenmuir High School to share information about the Reparation aspect of the CAPE syllabus
    • March 28, 2019: The Director presented at the United Nations’ Panel on Reparation in Geneva, Switzerland
    • April 5, 2019: The Director participated in an interview with Public Radio International The World, Boston, USA
    • April 6, 2019: The Research Assistant made a presentation to students and teachers on the reparation aspect of the CAPE syllabus at The UWI’s Faculty of Humanities and Education
    • April 10, 2019: The Research Assistant made a presentation at the Mona Campus Government Lecture on reparation
    • April 13, 2019: The Director made a presentation to students and teachers on the aspect of reparation of the CAPE syllabus at The UWI’s Faculty of Humanities and Education
    • May 27, 2019: The CRR hosted the first session of the Brown Bag series with Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles. Staff were updated on the University of Glasgow’s ongoing reparatory justice conversation with The UWI
    • June 4, 2019 The CRR hosted a panel discussion entitled “Psychological Harm: Lingering Legacies of Enslavement and Colonialism among Caribbean People”
    • June 10, 2019 The CRR hosted a press conference to update the community on the 2018 ‘slavevoyages.org’ 2.0 database
    • June 25, 2019 The CRR hosted the second session of the Brown Bag series with Dr. Kris Manjapra of Tufts University, USA on ‘Emancipation Processes as Crimes against Humanity’
    • July 15-19, 2019 The Director and Research Assistant facilitated a workshop session on “Gender and Reparation” at The UWI in Barbados’ Caribbean Institute for Gender and Development (CIGAD)
    • July 24, 2019 The CRR hosted a Distinguished Lecture with International Court of Justice judge, HE Patrick Robinson. The lecture was entitled ‘Independence is a Right, not a Gift: Lessons from the Chagos Advisory Opinion and Resolution 1514’
    • July 26, 2019 The Director gave an outreach lecture at the Jamaica Society for the Blind
    • Publications

      During the period under review CRR Director published the journal article:

      Verene A. Shepherd, “Past Imperfect, Future Perfect? Reparations, Rehabilitation, Reconciliation”, The Journal of African American History, Vol. 103, Winter/Spring 2018, Nos. 1 / 2, pp. 19-43.

      Plans are currently underway for the following publications:

      • A booklet entitled “Twenty Questions and Answers on Reparation”
      • A Special Issue of Social and Economic Studies focused on reparation; expected March 2020
      • A Special Issue of Caribbean Quarterly on reparation
      • A compilation of select speeches on reparation by leading academics and political activists
      • A CAPE History Booklet on Reparation.

      The CRR remains committed to fulfilling The UWI’s Triple A Strategy and CARICOM’s mandate to advance the movement for reparatory justice in the Caribbean.