Jamaica Wants Britain To Pay Billions In Reparations For Slavery
Back in 2013, Jamaica’s prime minister Portia Simpson Miller called for non-confrontational discussions at the UN about Britain paying reparations to the country, but Britain has never accepted the case for any compensation payments.
In 2015 Jamaica asked again that Britain pay slavery reparations. Now, they are asking once more.
“David Cameron is facing calls for Britain to pay billions of pounds in reparations for slavery ahead of his first official visit to Jamaica…
Downing Street said the prime minister does not believe reparations or apologies for slavery are the right approach, but the issue is set to overshadow his trade trip to the island, where he will address the Jamaican parliament,” The Guardian reported.
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Sir Hilary Beckles, chair of the Caricom Reparations Commission, has spearheaded the call for reparations for slavery.
Sir Beckles wrote an open letter in the Jamaica Observer that said: “You are a grandson of the Jamaican soil who has been privileged and enriched by your forebears’ sins of the enslavement of our ancestors…You are, Sir, a prized product of this land and the bonanza benefits reaped by your family and inherited by you continue to bind us together like birds of a feather.
“We ask not for handouts or any such acts of indecent submission. We merely ask that you acknowledge responsibility for your share of this situation and move to contribute in a joint program of rehabilitation and renewal. The continuing suffering of our people, Sir, is as much your nation’s duty to alleviate as it is ours to resolve in steadfast acts of self-responsibility.”
Beckles even pointed out that Cameron himself has slave owners in his ancestral history.
But the UK hasn’t been moved.
A Number 10 official said: “This is a longstanding concern of theirs and there is a longstanding UK position, true of successive governments in the UK, that we don’t think reparations are the right approach.
“The PM’s point will be he wants to focus on the future. We are talking about issues that are centuries old and taken under a different government when he was not even born. He wants to look at the future and how can the UK play a part now in stronger growing economies in the Caribbean.”