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International News Jul 12, 2021 6:23 PM EST

Jamaica readying to ask UK for reparations for slavery practiced centuries ago

Jamaica appears to be planning to petition the UK government for an amount that could be in the billions of GBP for reparations for the slave trade, said a senior Jamaican government official.

Jamaica readying to ask UK for reparations for slavery practiced centuries ago
James Anthony Montreal QC

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

Jamaica appears to be planning to petition the UK government for an amount that could be in the billions of GBP for reparations for the slave trade, said a senior Jamaican government official.

Jamaica was originally a Spanish colony, but the English took it away from them in 1655. Jamaica remained a British colony until 1962 when it won its independence. Britain was officially involved in the slave trade until 1807, and didn't abolish slavery entirely until the year 1834.

At that time, the British government compensated slave owners for having to free their slaves, but didn't make reparations directly to the slaves themselves. Even so, the loan they took out for such wasn't paid off until 2015. The current petition asks for the same amount to be paid out, adjusted for inflation.

According to Reuters, Olivia Grange, Jamaica's Minister of Sports, Youth and Culture, told them in an interview:

"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."

"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. Redress is well overdue."

Mike Henry, the lawmaker in Jamaica who has brought forth a private motion in pro of the reparations petition, 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 dehumanized human life."

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