Among the discussions at the recently held 71st Meeting of the OECS Authority, was a request for the support of OECS Heads of Government in the continued advocacy efforts for the posthumous exoneration of Marcus Garvey.
The request was forwarded by Rt. Hon. P.J. Patterson of The P.J. Patterson Centre for Africa-Caribbean Advocacy at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus, as the Centre prepared to launch an appeal to U.S. President Joe Biden for the posthumous exoneration of the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey. The efforts are being supported by the Marcus Garvey Institute, which launched a petition making the request of President Biden.
The petition to posthumously exonerate the late Marcus Garvey is seeking 100,000 signatures in the month of February (Black History Month), a milestone which will trigger a response from the U.S President Joe Biden.
As part of their contribution towards this effort, the OECS Heads of Government agreed to co-sign a letter addressed to President Biden calling for the posthumous exoneration of Marcus Garvey. The heads also agreed to lead a National Appeal for signatories to the petition in their respective countries.
Chairman of the OECS Authority The Right Honourable Dr. Keith Mitchell has pledged his full support towards the efforts, and has encouraged citizens and organizations to get behind the campaign.
In St Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Dr. The Honourable Ralph Gonsalves has launched a Memorandum addressed to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Caribbean, Africa, the United States and the wider World, calling for support for the campaign.
In the memo he states; “Garvey, by his thoughts, ideas and deeds, is in the top drawer of the pantheon of heroic personalities in our hemisphere and globally. We must honour and revere him and his main body of work. We must support his exoneration.”
The Director General of the OECS, Dr. Didacus Jules has added his voice to the campaign, making a special appeal to the U.S. President in support of Garvey’s exoneration.
As part of this appeal Dr. Jules wrote, “Mr President, I am respectfully urging your consideration for the posthumous exoneration of the Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey a National Hero of Jamaica and an outstanding Caribbean Leader who in the early twentieth century built the largest ever mass political movement of black people globally – the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).
“Hon. Garvey was unjustly convicted for “mail fraud” in the United States, served nearly three (3) years of a five (5) year sentence before being deported to Jamaica.
“In my personal capacity as well as in my official capacity as Director-General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), I respectfully appeal for his posthumous exoneration.”
The OECS Commission joins the OECS Member States in calling for all citizens, organizations, civil society and residents in the diaspora to join the efforts to exonerate one of the all time great leaders in the Caribbean and globally. To sign the petition, individuals must be 18 years and older. Details on how to sign can be found here.
Who was Marcus Garvey?
Marcus Garvey was an outstanding Caribbean leader, a Black Nationalist and Pan-Africanist who, in the twentieth century, built the largest ever mass political movement of Black people, globally, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).
Garvey greatly influenced the political outlook of several distinguished leaders from the Caribbean and globally, including, P.J. Patterson, Portia Simpson Miller, Maurice Bishop, Michael Manley, Roosevelt Douglas, Kwame Nkrumah and Martin Luther King. He is one of the greatest Caribbean leaders since conquest and settlement by colonialism.