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Jamaica plans ask Britain for Billions in ‘well overdue’ slavery reparations

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Jamaica plans ask Britain for Billions in ‘well overdue’ slavery reparations


Under a petition that may seek billions of pounds in reparations, Jamaica is to sue Britain for compensation for the Atlantic slave trade in the former British colony, according to a senior government source.

During the height of the slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries, the island of Jamaica played a critical role in the transportation of slaves from Africa to work on plantations throughout the Caribbean, first for the Spanish and subsequently for the British.

The action would be the first of its type, and it comes after Bristol became the first large city in the United Kingdom to approve a resolution supporting the movement for reparations for the slave trade and slavery.

“We are hoping for reparatory justice in all forms that one would expect if they are to really ensure that we get justice from injustices to repair the damages that our ancestors experienced,” Olivia Grange, Minister of Sports, Youth and Culture, told Reuters over the weekend in an interview.

“Our African ancestors were forcibly removed from their home and suffered unparalleled atrocities in Africa to carry out forced labour to the benefit of the British Empire,” she said. “Redress is well overdue.”

According to Reuters, the petition is linked to a motion filed by Jamaican legislator Mike Henry seeking more than $10 billion in compensation for enslavers when Britain abolished slavery in 1834, releasing an estimated 800,000 enslaved Black people. Britain made such payments after taking out a massive debt, on which it only paid interest until 2015.


Henry, a member of the governing Jamaica Labour Party, stated, “I am asking for the same amount of money to be paid to the slaves that was paid to the slave owners.”

“I am doing this because I have fought against this all my life, against chattel slavery which has dehumanised human life.”

According to Grange, the petition has been authorized by Jamaica’s National Council on Reparations and will be submitted once the attorney general and three legal teams provide recommendations. The attorney general will then submit it to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

According to the National Library of Jamaica, an estimated 600,000 Africans were transported to work in Jamaica.

The nation is still a Commonwealth member, with the Queen as its head of state.

Some private organizations and businesses, such as the Greene King beer firm and City ship insurance Lloyds of London, have already committed to pay millions in compensation.

Enslaved individuals were brought to the Caribbean to labor in deplorable circumstances on sugar and agricultural plantations, where fatal illnesses abound. According to estimates, up to 20 million African men, women, and children were enslaved during this time.

The effort comes after increasing recognition in certain sectors of slavery’s role in creating wealth in the United Kingdom, with companies and educational institutions making financial contributions as restitution.

Following the removal of Edward Colston’s statue, which was extensively engaged in the Bristol slave trade, there have been demands to remove other monuments devoted to individuals who were complicit in the slavery of others.

In March of this year, the city council of Bristol approved a resolution officially calling on the British government to establish some sort of truth and reconciliation process that would look at a broad variety of problems related to the transatlantic slave trade, including the subject of financial reparations.

Germany admitted last year that it committed colonial genocide during its rule of what is now Namibia. The government pledged $1.3 billion in assistance to the nation, calling it a “gesture of recognition” for the country’s “immeasurable suffering.”

Mikael Phillips, an opposition member, introduced a resolution in December to oust the British queen as head of state.

Jamaica was a British province until 1962, after it was seized from Spain by the English in 1655.

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