Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Apologies for slavery unhelpful, Barbados bishop argues

“I am not sure what an apology would do at this stage,” said Bishop Rufus Brome 

The former Bishop of Barbados has questioned calls by government leaders that whites must apologize for the sins of slavery. “I am not sure what an apology would do at this stage,” the Rt. Rev. Rufus Brome told Barbados Today, adding that the demand made by Robert Bobby Morris, Barbados’ Ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) served only to divide the nation. “There is a certain measure of integration in the life of the country . . . so I don’t have very strong feelings about whites having to apologize at this time,” he said, adding that “in my own dealings with people, there are some whites who are beginning to feel that they are being ostracized even within the church. There are some who think there is no room for me when it comes to ordination and that kind of thing. So even though we remember our past it doesn’t have to be that kind of thing.” The bishop added that while holding individuals hostage for the sins of the past would not help the nation, he did support calls for Britain to support the economic development of the Caribbean. “What we need to do in moving forward is to see that this country and whatever we have in this country is available to all and it is not enough to sing an anthem and to raise a flag and say, ‘oh yes, we are independent’. We have got to be able to share our resources and so on,” he said, adding: “Your colour or class does not define you . . . we need to be able to say that. The message of reparation is a powerful message but you have to begin with what Marcus Garvey said. You have to repair the damage of the mind,” Bishop Brome said.

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