18 October 2013

Virgin Islands Hunger Action for reparations for Danish Slavery

African-Caribbean Reparations 
and Resettlement Alliance (ACRRA)

For Immediate Release


RE: Failure of USVI (U.S. Virgin Islands) Senate to Act on Reparations
WHO: Senate President Shawn-Michael Malone
Members of the 30th Legislature of the USVI
ACRRA President Mr. Shelley Moorhead


WHEN: October 23rd, 2013 – Until Favorable Senate Action on  Reparations is Taken

WHERE: USVI Capitol Building (St. Thomas Legislature)

WHY: To inspire USVI lawmakers to act on matters relevant to the pursuit of reparations by the territory and to bring awareness to the outstanding and unresolved colonial injustices which foster underdevelopment in the former Danish West Indies.



The African-Caribbean Reparations and Resettlement Alliance (ACRRA) will commence a hunger action on October 23, 2013 at the grounds of the Capitol Building in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.  Purposed to inspire U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) lawmakers to act on matters relevant to the seeking of reparations by the territory, the hunger initiative will be carried out by ACRRA’s president Mr. Shelley Moorhead.

In a letter notifying Senate President Shawn-Michael Malone of the organization’s planned action, Moorhead writes, “I will be invoking my constitutional right to petition our government and abiding by all applicable U.S. Virgin Islands laws.”  The longtime Virgin Islands reparations leader gave notice on October 4th and informed Senator Malone that he will “remain there without eating or consuming food for as much time as will be necessary for senators to take favorable action on reparations legislation.”

It has been more than eight (8) years since the USVI Legislature firmly decided to seek reparations from Denmark by resolution unanimously passed by the body on May 4, 2005.  Yet, to date, no action has been taken by the institution to pursue reparatory justice for the people of the territory who are descendants of Africans enslaved in the Danish West Indies.  For as many years as the senate has not acted on reparations, ACRRA has been on the forefront of the issue advocating locally and internationally for the socioeconomic and humanitarian repair of Virgin Islanders by the Kingdom of Denmark.

In an October 4th letter to Malone, ACRRA’s president outlines nearly a decade of gross neglect and inaction on the part of many USVI senators.  He writes, “It has not been the manipulation of the Danish state or any stalling on the part of institutions at Copenhagen, but rather, it has been the failure of the first branch of our government in the U.S. Virgin Islands to, as it has legislated, ‘Seek Reparations from Denmark’ which has been the primary delay of reparatory justice in the territory.”

Moorhead in his letter recalled the mandate Senator Malone issued the reparations leader on June 16, 2005, when he wrote to him urging, “I encourage you to exhaust all your resources to try to find measures to make amends for the immeasurable years of suffering and disdain” experienced by Virgin Islands forefathers.  “These measures”, Moorhead replies, “I have found and all my resources have I exhausted at your encouragement. Certainly, as my elected representative and the man of good moral character that you are, you have not asked of me that which you yourself are unwilling to do for our people.”

With Caribbean governments throughout the region having formed reparations committees, and now preparing the moral and legal cases for compensation and educating their publics accordingly; what has the 30th Legislature of the U.S. Virgin Islands done to mobilize the seeking of reparations for its people? What can the descendants of enslaved Africans in our territory expect from this representative body as it pertains to reparations for slavery?  These questions Moorhead will attempt to get answered by senators during his multi-week reparations hunger action.

In August to September of 2008, the ACRRA president carried out a 34-day hunger action on the steps of Government House on St. Croix.  Refusing to leave, to eat, or consume food until Virgin Islands reparations issues were adequately addressed, Moorhead held the de Jongh administration to task receiving two (2) weeks into his hunger action a 3-page letter from Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. outlining his administration’s position on reparations.

ACRRA Media Team

Shelley Moorhead, President of ACRRA