Slavery reparation demands to be released

| 17/02/2014

(CNS): The coalition of Caribbean countries seeking reparations from Britain and other European countries over their role in the Atlantic slave trade will unveil a list of ten demands this month. The group is expected to ask for funds totalling billions of dollars, an apology, and assurances slavery will never be repeated. Professor Verene Shepherd, the chairman of Jamaica’s reparations committee, said that British colonisers had “disfigured the Caribbean,” and that their descendants must now pay to repair the damage. “If you commit a crime against humanity, you are bound to make amends,” Prof Shepherd told UK’s Daily Telegraph.

“The planters were given compensation, but not one cent went to the freed Jamaicans,” she added. Estimates suggest that some £4 trillion was extracted from the Caribbean in unpaid labour alone, researchers at the University of Birmingham have calculated.

Although the regional countries seeking the reparations have hired human rights legal expert Martin Day who won damages for Kenyans in connection with the Mau-Mau rebellion who is confident they can win, the UK government has so far made it clear it will not be paying.
Since Tony Blair’s 2007 almost apology when he expressed  “deep sorrow and regret” for the “unbearable suffering” caused by the slave trade, but carefully stopped short of saying sorry the UK has said little on the subject.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, described the trade as “brutal, mercenary and inhumane from its beginning to its end” in his 2008 biography of William Wilberforce, the great abolitionist MP. But although Mark Simmonds, the overseas territories and Caribbean minister, said that “slavery was abhorrent” he dismissed talk of reparations on a recent trip to Jamaica. “Do I think that we are in a position where we can financially offer compensation for an event two, three, four hundred years ago? No, I don’t,” Simmonds stated.

Some experts have dismissed the planned lawsuits arguing that regardless of its evils, the slave trade was legal at the time. But campaigners such Lord Gifford, a British hereditary peer and barrister who runs a law firm in Kingston and advises the reparations committee said the slave trade “breached the natural law that man is free” adding that there is “no statute of limitations” on a crime against humanity.

Many experts also argue that slavery is to blame for a litany of modern ills across the Caribbean, extending to epidemics of diabetes and hypertension allegedly rooted in the salty diets that were forced on the ancestors of sufferers. In 1962, they stress, Britain left an independent Jamaica in which 80 per cent of the people were functionally illiterate.

Category: World News

Comments (46)

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  1. Werewolves of London?? says:
    To those of you who have been suggesting public funds funds should not be used to pay reparations for Great Britain's involvement in the slave trade because, after all, you weren't directly involved probably makes sense. I might even agree but then I offer this.
     
    • Since 2007 the UK has committed to spending £1.162 trillion at various points on bailing out the banks. This figure has however fluctuated wildly during the period and by March 2011 it was £456.33bn. That total outstanding support was equivalent to 31% of GDP in March.
     
    • The £456.33bn figure breaks down into £123.93bn in loan or share purchases, which required a cash injection from the government to the banks, and £332.4bn in guarantees and indemnities which haven't actually been paid, but were offered to shore up the failing bank system.
     
    • Of the £123.93bn, the Royal Bank of Scotland received £45.80bn, Lloyds £20.54bn, Northern Rock a total of £22.99bn, Bradford and Bingley £8.55bn and a further £26.05bn went on "loans to support deposit".
     
    Now, ask yourself if you were involved in that fiasco? No. Then, is this a correct use of your money?
    On the one hand, there were only losses and nothing was gained. On the other fortunes were made.
     
    Which is more deserving bailing out bankers who gambled and lost. Or finally compensating for the direct financial gains from the slave trade.
     
     
    • The Pastafarian says:

      I say, Wolfie…..  Are you some kind of nut?  Two wrongs have never made a right.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have not committed crimes such as slavery – so why should I have to pay compensation for what happened centuaries ago?

    Put the begging bowl away – you are just embarassing yourself and your country.

     

  3. UHUHUH says:

    And I quote:

    The coalition of Caribbean countries seeking reparations from Britain and other European countries over their role in the Atlantic slave trade will unveil a list of ten demands this month. The group is expected to ask for funds totalling billions of dollars, an apology, and assurances slavery will never be repeated. Professor Verene Shepherd, the chairman of Jamaica’s reparations committee, said.

    Was she smoking some really bad ganga or what?  "Assurances" that slavery will never be repeated! She Definitely Should Take a Break! And then, I wonder how "in the event that those countries which were said to be involved in the slave trade" were to give them any monetary compensation, how would they go about sharing it up among the different Islands? Should I go on? I'd venture to say that few descendants of any slaves would see one penny of that money. There will be declarations about all the building of new schools and other civic programs that are so badly needed, and then contracts would be let to friends and family members, and before long there would be nothing but complaints from the people of how the money was wasted, and none but the bureaucrats, would have seen a penny of it. 

    Anyway we won't have to worry about that, because they will "never" see one red cent from any of those countries.  

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ooohhhhh, scary, the coalition of Caribbean country's is demanding reperations from the UK, and exactly what are they going to do about it when the UK says get lost?

    Are they going to recall all of their former citizens and their descendants, who have made a very nice life for themselves in the UK, back to their mother country's?

    Are they going to withdraw from supplying illegal drugs to the UK market and stop their nationals from commiting acts of serious violence and murder on the streets of London and other major cities around the UK. Are they finally going to empty the UK's prisons of their Yardie brothers and take them home where they can create murder and mayhem on their own filthy streets?

    No, they won't do any of these things, because as per usual, they are playing at being leaders whilst corrupting and stealing from their own. Their pumped up, self important and self entitled attitudes are typical of bankrupted societies around the world, especially in Africa. If these play acting Africans really want to get in touch with their roots, then go back to Africa and see how you are received. Believe me, whilst European slavery is long dead, African slavery, ethnic cleansing, tribal and religious warfare are not, and you will not be welcome with your rose coloured ideas of what Africa should look like. You are not Africans, no more than I am a Viking.

    As for the idiot leftie lawyer, he's only in it for the money, he cares nought for slavery, only his expanding bank balance. You see, he gets the money from the people who need it most, win or lose.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Im not taking sides but I will point out a few things just for the sake of conversation.

    1) The Jews were able to get compensation as were the American Indians

    2) Turkish Corsairs were selling white Christians into Salvery in North Africa and at some times during the slavery trade the number of Europeans in slavery in Norhern Africa exceeded the number of black africans.

    On the grounds advanced, the white europeans also seemingly have a claim against both Turkey and Northern African states of Moracco among others.

    So, what about the Arawak and Carib Indians and furhter the Aztec and other indians displaced and slaved by the spainards and other europeans.

    This is going to get interesting but I doubt it will stand up as the facts of slavery were prevalent amongst all societies and the Africans hand were not at all clean. In addition to enslaving large numbers of white europeans in North Africa they were selling each other. It would seem the cause will not be supported by the facts of events at the time.

    It is hard to point a finger when you have many pointing back at you…makes me wonder if the advancers of this challenge have ever look into the world as it was according to the historyas recorded at that time.

  6. Anonymous says:

    A top notch apology and a promise of better treatment towards Black people is all that is needed….Too much laziness and corruption to dish out financial compensation that will most likely disappear in no time and not knowing who received or where the funds actually went!

    From: Black Pride!

  7. House of Cards says:

    Obviously, lots of folks from the U.K. commenting but only it seems those with opinions based on a twisted sense of history and manifest destiny.  Certainly most of the culprits as well as the victims are dead. That is one excuse used. But the descendents. You know who you are. The 'dukes' 'duchesses' 'barons' 'lords' and those living off of what is referred to as 'old money'. That still exists. As does the legacy left by their forebearers across the ocean. The problem is, and the problem I think most people have,  is the cost of reparations will be foisted on the public when it is far more personal than that and no doubt the House of Lords will be adamant in their refusal. You see, it was about money then. And that was good enough to continue the brutality of capturing slaves. It is money now. Being requested by the relatives of those held in servitude ie. slavery. What's the problem? Except the skin color. After all -it's still about money. Except that now it will be flowing the other way.

  8. Ed says:

    Perhaps in time, most descendants of former slaves will thank God that they are out of Africa.  Of course slavery was and is terrible and by today’s standards, sinful.  But look at what “slave descendants” have escaped from, living as most do in the Caribbean or North America:

    28 Sub-Saharan African states have been at war since 1980 and conflicts continue today in many places.  North Africa is home to various and numerous armed groups.  Many operate across national borders. These militants often appear to share a brand of violent Salafism (strict Sunni Muslim, advocating Sharia law).

    In Nigeria there has and continues to be, a degree of ethnic cleansing and the government has been unable to bring the violence under control.  The whole society of Somalia is clan based with accompanying tensions.

    There are current US Travel Warnings to: Egypt, Libya, Kenya, Guinea, Chad, Burundi, Eritrea, Somalia, Central African Republic, Cote DI’voire, Nigeria, Algeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Democratic. Republic of the Congo, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

    There are bloody conflicts currently in Somalia, the Central African Republic, Mali, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan and other places too.  Whole villages are being slaughtered in some of these places.  Muslims slaughter Christians and then the Christians retaliate similarly.

    The African Peacekeeping Forces recently arrested a, Christian man from the Central African Republic who posed for pictures, in two separate incidents, while eating the body parts of dead Muslims he and his gang had dragged from a bus.

    Remember the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s by members of the Hutu majority?  During a 100 days an estimated one million Tutsi Rwandans were killed.  This was about 20% of the country's total population and 70% of the Tutsi who were living in Rwanda at the time.

    The only country in Africa where black Africans are relatively safe is South Africa and their standards of living and prospects would horrify almost all black Caymanians.

    Possibly, Jamaicans actually owe Europeans something.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ed, are you suggesting Europeans removed African natives from their homes and chained them in the holds of ships to ultimately give them a 'better life'?  That is like saying the Holocaust wasn't so bad because a lot of Jews are now in the film industry or banking.

      I hope you realize the lameness of your argument.

      • Ed says:

        Exactly how stupid are you?

        Of course that's not what I am suggesting.  But what I did imply was that I'd rather by poorly paid in Jamaica than in living fear of mutilation or death in Africa with no hope of a better future.  And so would you an all Jamaicans!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Was it necessary to pick a photograph of her in fancy dress?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps they can address the slavery issue that is going on right now in Africa.  But the slave thing is not whats really going on is it.  The only real justice would be to sue those responsible by those who were inslaved.  P.S.  They are all dead and gone.

  11. Anonymous says:

    "Oh no! Your great great great great great grand parents hurt my great great great great great grand parents! You own me money!"

    The Africans sold other Africans to the white man, and the first U.S. slave owner was a black man. This is unnecessary.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is that what you think slavery was about – that somebody hurt somebody else a long time ago? How you trivialise the issue! African enslavement was the most horrendous crime against humanity that ever was. It erased people's identity, stole their labour, dehumanised them, tortured and mutilated them, exercised the power of life and death over them, raped them, broke down all sense of family etc etc.. The impact of slavery is multi-generational, And none of this has been compensated. Quite the opposite France demanded and enforced billions of dollars in reparations agains the newly independent Haiti for losing the value of the slaves. That put Haiti into a debt spiral from which it has never recovered. At the minimum that should be repaid to Hait with interest.

      And slavery is not so many greats back.

      Anthony Johnson was himself a slave before becoming a slave owner. But of course the fact that there were a few black slave owners has nothing to do with the issue.

  12. qwerty says:

    How about a free ride back across?

  13. Anonymous says:

    "breached the natural law that man is free"  Tell that to my wife, she'll win the arguement for the UK in 1 second flat.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Let's face it, slavery was wrong, but the decendants of slaves are much better off today than we would have been if slavery had never brought us to the western world.  Which one of us would give up life in the Caribbean to return to Africa!  Not one!  So come on, the only persons who will likely gain off of this financially are lawyers, not the average decendant of a slave.  So let's find something better to spend our time on like teaching our gangsta society how to live like civilized human beings, providing for our children and living in peace with our brothers.

  15. Anonymous says:

    The amount of wishful thinking involved with this lawsuit is laughable.  Especially this gem: "…slavery is to blame for a litany of modern ills across the Caribbean, extending to epidemics of diabetes and hypertension allegedly rooted in the salty diets that were forced on the ancestors of sufferers"

    HAHAHA!  Every one of us is responsible for our own diet, no matter how much our ancestors have been prosecuted, slaughtered or subjugated… whether we're Jewish, Native American, Armenian, or otherwise.  If you can't take personal responsibilityfor the problems in your own life now, then when do you?

  16. Anonymous says:

    What about the slaves who lived and slaved in Cayman and whom many of us are proud to acknowledge as our ancestors (while others try to hide the fact ).   What are we entitled to except our proud heritage.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I hope the Cayman Islands get something also! After all slavery also happened here whether we want to accept it or not! Caynanian

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, and let's make all expats pay us reparations, say 10% of their salaries while they are here. Look at all themess the white man caused here, especially after slavery!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Oh dear, the money grabbers are still at it. In summary:

    1. I would say that at the time of slavery, approximately 80% of the population of the UK was also illiterate and on a very poor diet, as was most of Europe at that time. Who is going to compensate them for that?

    2. Most caribbean former slave families now have their own islands which are independent of major powers or have a great degree of self governance from locally elected people. Those that have stolen or corrupted their countries into bankruptcy are the ones that need to be pursued, not the former colonial powers, as it is them that has stolen from their own people. Blaming the colonial powers for (in Jamaica's case) 60 years of mismanaged and stolen finance is a distraction from the real problems, which is precisely what they want.

    3. If, (as many write on here about expats) we should go home if we don't like it here, then former slave families who are so unhappy about the slave trade (which no-one is alive to remember by the way) should perhaps return to their ancestral homes. Lets see how many go.

    • Anonymous says:

      1. Is that what you think Slavery was all about – being illiterate and having a poor diet? Your ignorance is astounding.

      2. is a red herring.

      3. is irrelevant and nonsensical. 

  19. Just Sayin'.... says:

    "if you commit a crime against humanity, you are bound to make amends". Therein lies the problem. No one alive committed the crime, so no one alive is required to make amends. Slavery   is abhorrent but these demands for reparations from persons not responsible amounts to extortion.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Love it. Now its Britain who left Jamaica. So why do Jamaican's celebrate independence day? It would be interesting to know what side Norman Manley would take today, pro-indpendence, or begging?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Ridiculous!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Madness.

    Next, slavery is responsible for many people being drug addicts, rapists, murderers & gangsters too. More compensation sought!

    UK should counter-sue for all the ill affects of having consumed all this sugar, tobacco, drugs, etc. that the Caribbean produced & exported. And for a share in the rolyaties of reggae music etc., since the argument is clearly "UK did it all, we did none of it ourselves".

     

  23. Anonymous says:

    Fortunes were made off slavery, fortunes that are still visible in the estates, castles & plantation mansions in Great Britain and the southern U. S. As a matter of fact, there are now laws in existence for the forfeiture of property and money made from the proceeds of crime. A member of a drug cartel doesn't get away with an apology. These are the same people who were aghast at the Jews being used as slave labor by the Nazis. I see no difference.

    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent point.

    • Justice in the Works says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with you. Ignore the negative thumb down ratings. If 100 years ago my great great great grandfather had a piece of land and it was taken away by the "white man" for their profit, and today that piece of property has never been reclaimed, wouldn't anyone want some sort of retribution no matter how long ago it was???  I can't see why anyone wouldn't want Justice. The land still belongs to you and your family, and as far as I know Justice is the same yesterday and today. Ignorant people can thumbs rate all they want, but I can tell you, if it was them, they would understand clearly this cause.

      • Anonymous says:

        so under your arguement a descendent of a slave who now owns land in Jamaica will also have to pay reparations to the Carib and Arawak people, as they used to own the land

        yes?

    • Anonymous says:

      Slavery wasn't a crime stupid, it's dumbass statements and weak minded thought processes like that one that are keeping you back. You can't seize assets that were gained legally, whether or not it is illegal now.

      I think we should turn the tables and claim compensation for the drugs and violence that Jamaica is now exporting to Britain and the wider European community. It's the same in the Caribbean as in Africa, corrupt polititicians stealing from their own people, yet ready to blame slavery or colonial powers on their own lack of credibility, education, dishonesty and integrity. Get a spine, earn your own damn money.

      And someone tell that lady that she is a Jamaican, not Shaka of the Zulus, enough with the fake African culture as most descendants of slaves have no idea which country, region, tribe or family they are descended from. Africa is a continent and is as diverse as any other in the world. Slaves from West Africa would almost certainly not have seen tigers, lions, zebras or most of the other big game animals so ignorantly worn as  a sign of 'African' culture. That's like a Brit wearing the national dress of Austria, it's ridiculous and insulting if not worn correctly or within the culture that it represents.

      You will also note that the descendants of those taken as slaves aren't screaming for compensation, I wonder why, could it be that they purged themselves of the unhealthy, unscrupulous and unworthy. Are they happy that their descendants ethnically cleansed their lands of competing tribes? One thing you need to learn about Africa, they don't care about the slave trade or their descendants as they are still quite happy killing, raping and enslaving each other to achieve the unfinished aims of centuries gone by.

    • Anonymous says:

      The difference is hundreds of years and still some survivors of the nazi atrocities. And if we are making comparisons, the Jewish people said. quite rightly, "never again" and learned the lessons. Only true nut cases would take on the Israeli military now. Slightly more active process than trying to get another hand out, which lets make no mistake, will be frittered away or stolen if successful, from people who died 200 years ago. 

  24. Anonymous says:

    I can understand the demand for billions of dollars in compensation, but asking for assurances that slavery will never be repeated is going a bit too far in my opinion.

  25. say what? says:

    Yaddies looking for another free meal…. smh.. pitiful.. get over it and go find an honest living..

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said, I am sick of a bunch of lazy unemployables blaming the white man.

  26. Anonymous says:

    gimme…gimme…..its all about the benjamins!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Really, the relatives of the relatives of the relatives of slaves are demanding retribution?????  How about the jewish people, the whole world knew what Hitler was doing?  

    • Anonymous says:

      You see this is just the problem. Why is it only always about the Jewish people? FYI, West Germany (as it then was) has in fact paid more than $35 billion in reparations to Israel and jews worldwide.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Is this a joke? Nobody alive today is responsible for slavery or has been for a very long time. Any excuse for free money. 

    • Anonymous says:

      But you all benefit from it even as the descendants of slaves are burdened with its legacy.

  29. Anonymous says:

    The list will be funny.  A bunch of crackpots have convinced themselves and no-one else and CARICOM's limited credibility takes another knock.