All strategies without structure or proper execution will eventually fail but the brave will fall but never yield.
Murder and torture. The brutality of the Middle Passage from West Africa to the Caribbean. Inhumanity and wealth extraction, drowning in blood - the long shadow of British Slavery and Colonialism have been the foundation on which underdevelopment and persistent poverty have taken place in the Caribbean. A consequence of centuries of crimes against humanity carried out by European colonial powers on enslaved and indentured labour.
The legacy of Colonial era attitudes lingers in today's world. Native genocide, racism, enslavement, indentureship and exploitation were characteristics of the British Empire.
In the heyday of imperialism and at the height of Britain's imperial power the British were merciless. It's a matter of historical record, the horrendous impact between 1880 - 1920 of British Colonial policies in India. There were three million indigenous people when the new world was discovered.
As global discussions take on a sense of urgency in respect of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. There is deep concern about the lack of political will to achieve the 17 goals. COVID-19, the Climate change crisis, the war in Ukraine, the banking crisis - The world is in turmoil. Questions have arisen about the model for small states in the world of change, social, economic and technological transformation.
Can sport contribute to a new model of social inclusion and world order? Is there a role for sport as a way to improve ordinary people's quality of life? Is there a path for sport as an essential aspect of social responsibility in a new social construct? These are relevant questions modern world sports leaders must now confront. How can small island states' sports leaders make a positive difference? What is the vision given the reality of modern-day challenges and issues that have a negative impact? Will sport play its part in the important conversations to find solutions for some of the world's most urgent and pressing issues?
The issue of reparative and restorative justice must be confronted now.
An important step the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) must take is to establish a Reparations Fund to assist with funding for the development of Commonwealth Sport in the Caribbean.
In 1911, the "Festival of Empire" competition was arranged to celebrate the Coronation of King George V. In October 1891, John Astley Cooper suggested a festival to foster goodwill and understanding in the British Empire. From 1930 to 1950, the Games were called the British Empire Games. The name was changed to the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, until 1962. From 1966 to 1974 it was the British Commonwealth Games. In 1978, the Games was rebranded as Commonwealth Games.
The Commonwealth is a relationship between Britain and her former colonies. The Commonwealth Games is a symbol and legacy of British Empire Colonialism.
The Commonwealth Games sport-washing history cannot be changed and the crimes of the British Empire cannot be erased. However, the albatross of deliberate ignorance cannot continue to be passed on to future generations. It's not about historical hate, anger or lost opportunity. It's about building a better future, healing and moving forward by understanding the past and how we must reshape the future. It's about breaking down the colonial and western imperialist legacy of racism.
The CGF can't hide, erase or rewrite its history it must, however, face up to and accept the truth and reality of its history and use it as an opportunity to foster growth, development, understanding, resilience, non-racism, inclusion and diversity and to promote a fair, just, safe and sustainable future for everyone involved in the Commonwealth sports movement.
Sport is a universal language that can assist the Commonwealth of Nations to unpack and unburden the legacies of slavery, imperialism, colonialism and empire. Will the CGF answer the call?
Editor’s Note: The views expressed by the writer aren’t necessarily those of any organisation that he may be associated with.