PJ Patterson presses slavery reparations case

| 15/10/2014

(CNS): European nations conceived the African slave trade, put the enterprise into motion, controlled its operation and were massively enriched by it, the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, PJ Patterson, said on Sunday night when he gave an address during the opening ceremony at the regional conference on reparations in Antigua and Barbuda. Patterson urged the new generation of Caribbean leaders not to give up the pursuit of reparations for native genocide and slavery. In his address Patterson dismissed arguments that Africa was complicit in the genocide and pointed to the culpability of European countries. Africa, he said, was the victim of exploitation that crippled its potential for development.

At the latest meeting to press forward with the legal case for reparations, Patterson passed the torch to Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.

“As one who belongs to the older generation of Caribbean leaders, I am here today to present that torch to a leader of the younger generation and to say: Never let that torch be extinguished,” Patterson said. Browne assured him that the regional leaders have accepted the torch and “will never allow it to be extinguished”.

Patterson also challenged the critics that assert Africans should share moral responsibility for the crime against humanity because they were complicit.

“One should not place on a victim the guilt for a crime; so we should stop putting the guilt of the collaborator on the shoulders of the victim. The African continent was the victim of imperial exploitation and slavery and suffered a massive loss. It resulted in a major depopulation of Africa, with its heavy male bias. It destroyed age old political traditions, undermined tribal systems, corrupted both moral and civil practices. In short, it crippled the potential for economic growth and social development,” he said.

He added that the infrastructure established to support trafficking of Africans was not known there before the mass exportation of Africans to the West. From forts along the coast to the floating prisons that transported the captured human beings, he also noted the banking and insurance sector that financed the whole process.

“The ideology of racism and the articulation of superiority and inferiority linked to race and colour were absent in Africa before the trans-Atlantic trade in Africans.”

Patterson said African leaders were induced by intimidation or bribery as well as greed to collaborate in the trade but many leaders opposed vehemently the capture and shipment of their people.

“There is no principle in law which permits the organizers of a criminal enterprise to escape responsibility because others collaborated in carrying out the enterprise. Legal responsibility is not affected by any collaboration,” Patterson added. “It was European nations who conceived the trade, put the enterprise into motion, controlled its operation andwere massively enriched by it.”

CARICOM officials said the objective of the conference was to widen the dialogue and intensify the scientific and popular discourse on the reparations commission’s ten point reparatory justice plan and map out national and regional strategies to advance the case for reparations from Europe. Since CARICOM established the formal committee it has also re-energized the reparations movements on the African continent, the United States and the United Kingdom and has generated international attention.

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  1. TCM29 says:

    Nobody around today was a slave, nor did anyone own any. Stop blaming others for your lack of achievement and feral behavior. My ancestors came to the US and worked underground in mines, only to live (for) the mining companies in company housing paid for with scrip currency. It wasn't easy for anybody. Get over it and tell your people to straighten up and fly right. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Everyone knows this isn't going anywhere. You should also realise this story got posted with the knowledge it would spark this kind of back and forth banter. I don't know what the goal was but if it was to cause further division amongst the populace then it worked like a charm. Next on Fox News……why white males can't get jobs because of affirmative action….zzzzzzzzz

  3. Crab-louse says:

    Tell us Mr. Pee Gay, what are you doing to help to END Slavery on the African continent?

    The Europeansstarted the Abolition movement hundreds of years ago, and the slave-trade has not existed in our Western world for More than a century!

    Yet it is still prevolent on the African continent.

    Your Silence is deafening!

    Historically, you have show yourself to be nothing more than a Parasite who infects the 'less-educated minds' of our most vulnerable people with your BS, in order further promote your personal political & financial agenda.

    Did you ever find that 'Iran sugar deal' money?

    Crawl back to ur Chateau in France.

  4. Anonymous says:

    FIrst of all, I do not support the concept of reparations as it will not happen and will only result in fuelling more hatred against people of different races. Instead the emphasis should be on the truthful teaching of history so that we all learn from the past mistakes. 

    However this is one, of many, discussions that Caymanians should stay out of as you were not taught a true representation of Caribbean history in our education system as the books we were taught from were written by those who did not want us to know our history.  We were tgh silly things like Christopher Columbus discovered the Caribbean -when in act he was our first Pirate –  foolishness, yet so much of us believe that, even today. I went to the same school as you did and it was as not until I was an adult that I was able to read and learn a clearer view of Caribbean history by educated persons as Eric Williams, from Columbus to Castro, and many others. Many of us, do not even know Cayman history as we believe it began 40-50 years ago when we started to develop. That is not our history, that is a history of our economic development, not the history of our Country.

    The suggestions and arguments I have read in these posts suggest that you would today agree and defend human sex trafficking because some parents, for various reasons, sell their children into human slavery- poverty, drug abuse, ignorance (believing they are going to better place), etc. So the argument you are making is "too bad for the children, that's your parents fault". So since it's your parents who sold you, there is nothing wrong, legally or morally, with human sex trafficking? Really… think about it.

  5. Whodatis says:

    Firstly, I do not support the call for reparations.

    However, the amount of ignorance surrounding Afrika, its history, and the (global) role of its people throughout history and pre-history never ceases to amaze me.

    It is quite sad that so many are still so unedcuated on what is the richest continent on earth (yes, natural resources are the only true riches in this universe – everything else has been manipulated / created by (western / "Middle-Eastern") man), however this is primarily because most want to remain ignorant on the topic. I guess it is easier and it also helps to jusitfy various other mindsets that have been created by way of generational western programming.

    Anyway, I look forward to more of your entertaining commentary and battles in this pathetic and unfortunate thread … as you were.

    • Anonymous says:

      More pedantry. Whodatis.. get over yourself.

    • Anonymous says:

      What are you doing spelling it "Afrika"?  

      Is German your first language or are you being as pretentious as ever?

  6. Will Ya Listen! says:

    Old whitey at it again PJ? Try telling us what that murderous animal Mugabwe has done in the name of Africa. He didn't enslave the white farmers of Rhodesia – he just had them killed. Any blood money due on the thousands who died or is it ok because they were white and Africa is about being Black? 

    Anything for a free handout PJ – Jamaica must be proud of your hustle. 

  7. SKEPTICAL says:

    How did slavery cripple the opportunity for economic growth and social development?  If the African Continent had somehow completely avoided discovery by the rest of the World – where would it be be today. Exactly where it has been for thousands of years. A vast area populated by different tribal groups, living off the land as hunters , and/or farmers. There would have been territorial conflicts, and consequent slavery, especially of women,  for defeated communities. However, without the interference of Arab and Western civilizations there was no need for the indigenous people to change their lifestyle and they would probably be much happier  – the Masai are a perfect example. You cannot equate slavery with restricting development.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Look ya now. I got some black blood and some white blood does I have to pay or do I get some money too. Maybe  I will have to pay myself.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Of course slavery was abhorrent, but had Mr Patterson's descendants remained in Africa he would never have been elected head of his country, as free and democratic elections simply do not occur over there (except with very rare exceptions).If you are far better off over here than if you had remained in Africa why should you be compensated?. In any event those who were abused died well over a hundred years ago.                                                                                      

    • Anonymous says:

      So because black people have managed to rise against all odds Europeans should be absolved from their atrocities?

      • Anonymous says:

        Get over yourself and the big chip on your shoulder.  If our forefathers acted disgracefully towards anyone, how can you possible suggest that someone we are collectively responsible. No one in their right mind thinks that slavery was right but I sure as hell am not going to apologise for something I had no part in not even as a silent witness.  

  10. Anonymous says:



    I say this as a person of African descent….check your history before you open your mouth and make yourself look foolish.

    Reparations, for what?

    Real talk. It isn't as if the Europeans visited the continent, enslaved and returned to their homeland. This was never the case.   At that time, and due to the lack of natural resources, Africans used their own people as a source of revenue.  The slaves were orginally captured through tribal wars with the survivors of the losing tribe being forced into servitude for the victor.

    Once northern influence came, bothnative and foreigners saw slavery as a mutually benefical business transaction.  And that is al that it was, a business transaction.

    Everyday pets are purchased, some end up in good homes, while others not so much.  Does the offspring of a pet have the right to demand payment from the owner of it mother?

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it is you, who needs to actually sit down a read a book instead of sounding stupid. While I dont comepletly agree under some of the circumstances they are asking for reparations, you should do your research properly before  you jump in looking like another baboon.

      What is funny, is your mentality to hold Afrikaan lives in comparison with pets. How dare you? I wish I heard you in person saying this. You would never forget where you come from after that meeting. Disgusting creature

      • Anonymous says:

        African societies have been enslaving each other for thousands of years, and continue to do so today. Ever heard of "Boko haram"? Read the news; they aint a bunch of crackers… 


        Ask them for reparations. 


      • Anonymous says:

         If you did your research properly, you would find out that Afrikaaners are people living in Africa of Dutch descent. It was some of the native African tribes who were directly involved in theslave trade Having said this, I found the reference to pets quite baffling and certainly inappropriate.

      • Anonymous says:

        Get over it, you're no more an African than I'm a Roman, Saxon, Viking or Norman. The truth is that Africans did enslave their own and pass them onto the European slave traders for profit. Europeans did not have the knowledge, the medical protection or the armies to enslave so many without help and in any case didn't meaningfully explore Africa until after the the abolition of slavery.

        No, it is just too convenient to blame the white man for the black Africans inability to live in harmony with each other. Racial, religious and tribal warfare have torn Africa apart over generations, long before a white face was ever seen as a source of income and an excuse for genocidal tribes to rid Africa of their enemies. 

        If proof were needed, just look at Africa now. It has much of the worlds mineral wealth and yet it's people starve at the hands of its own rulers. Zimbabwe was known as the bread basket of Africa, until Mugabe murdered his way to power, it is now a basket case. Take any African country and you will find the same culture of tribal power corrupting government, nothing has changed. In fact, your own diatribe belies the culture from which you hold so dear, you obviously believe that force will ensure loyalty to a past heritage, (a heritage of which you know nothing, a tribe you cannot name or a country you cannot identify and that no longer wants you).

        Africa is a continent, it isn't one big culture or one particular race, and it isn't a tacky theme park for those who can't come to terms with events that happened over a period of 300 years and finished 200 years ago. Calling yourself African isn't about your colour, the fake leopard skin scarves, the made up names or some other fake expression of 'heritage', it is about your place in today's Africa. And sadly, you don't have one.


        • Anonymous says:

          SMH,, lost you are… white washed as they come.


          EVERY culture has had slavery. Everyone. whether through war, prisoners, or repayment. Yes Africans had slaves, what you should look at is how they used slaves; to repay deaths owed. Thoses slaves werent beaten, castrated, taken from their land and stripped of their identities. They weren't given someone elses name to show who they belonged to, they werent given someone elses religion to learn, and killed if they did not obey. Im not saying what was going on in africa was right, but let me enlighten you; England was notorious for slaving their own people too. 

          You are lost poor soul, whether you are black or white.

          Since Africa was so terrible,lost and had nothing before europeans came and bought them from their own, I bet you think that mathematics came from the white man, and the first educational system was made not in Africa, but by some scottsman? Wonder who actually invented the battery and learnt how to harvest the power of electricity? Go and actually learn some history.If people like you would just take the time and actually use common sense and learn about the past and apply logic, you, you dim wit wouldnt be harping about Africa and its state. Ill let you know before you start googling.. Egypt is in Africa.

          How can you expect a country to grow , when you oppress the people? Do you think you could buy that pretty diamond if those people there were working for minimum wage. Yet those diamonds are still controlled by one family.  Take your head out from under the pillow and go and see what is really happening over there, instead of coming in here on your soap box, spewing stupidit.

          I guess, you also believe that barack obama, is a true form of African American too( to save yourself a stupid respond to this, please find out why black americans, wanted to be known as african americans) because he's black…here is something to think about. if African Americans are ancestors of slaves from Africa, then what is obama, since his father was never a slave or an off spring of one.(That my friend is true colour bating).. Pull the covers from over your eyes and wake up. This world isnt as black and white as what you have been reading. Then again, stay in Cayman, and post stupid comments on facebook while taking selfies like most of the morons in this world….you're probably better off. white washed idiot

  11. Anonymous says:

    The people of India have probabaly suffered more from servitude and slavery than any other and they have just landed a space craft on Mars.

    • Anonymous says:

      They were aimingfor the moon..

    • Anonymous says:

      I presume that the 1+billion that the uk alone gives india in aid, does help either. Nor the fact that india can tax it's people(1/3 of the worlds population).

      Its a different outlookwhen you actually tell the whole story. 

      Many people in here are talking out of their *&)* in here.. 

      Here is the solution: Pick up a book. Stop picking parts of the story and actually learn the full thing.. Too many people in cayman walking around with half truths.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Well well  always looking for the $

    try help for a change

    ethnic cleansing and ebola are in your "homeland " ( Africa)

    you are quiet about that !! why ?

  13. Anonymous says:

    OMG….PJ Patterson and many others need to get off the slavery band wagon.  While it is a part of history it is not an excuse for people of color (they are NOT all African Americans) to continue to use to keep from excelling at anything and people like Patterson only continue to play the race and slavery card to keep their own people down with their poor us victim mentality.  Many people of color have gone on to do great things in many countries in spite of slavery in their background and other races have overcome similar or worse obstacles.  The problem is NOT slavery…it is a racist victim mentality that keeps thinking the world owes them some sort of favor instead of rising above circumstances from ancient history. Stop promoting racism PJ and do something for yourself and your people that is meaningful and holds promise for them now and in the future.  The past is dead and gone.   

  14. Anonymous says:

    But the Europeans saved our souls with Jesus!  What price for that!!!???

  15. Anonymous says:

    The concept of reparations is sound. However, it is very unlikely that its validity will ever be acknowledged and moreso, accepted and implemented. European countries which were at the center of the New World slave tradefrom the 1500's to the 1800's will never accept the responsibility that they facilitated this horror. Proponents of the rejection of reparations refer to African tribes willingly selling slaves to traders. Perhaps so to some degree, but there is no question that European traders facilitated the horror to service the European landowners in the New World. No amount of brushing the issue under the rug can deny this.

    However, apart from the historical arrogance of those same European countries and the churches which ignored their slave policy, they are all BROKE now, so the lilelihood of reparations in this economic climate is nil.

  16. Jacob McT says:

    African societies have been enslaving each other for thousands of years, and continue to do so today. Ever heard of "Boko haram"? Read the news; they aint a bunch of crackers… 


    Ask them for reparations. 

  17. Anonymous says:

    So dig them all out of the ground and put them in jail.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Sometimes the more educated one becomes, the more weird their ideas.  Look at Africa today and ask any descendant of any former slave if that is where they would like to live today.  We are all glad to be living in the Caribbean today for no matter what difficulties we face today, it isn't as bad as life in Africa, where slavery is still going on today and where people kill each other because they are of a different tribe or religion.  And talk about poverty, Patterson and many others have been leaders of their respective countries since independence and ask yourself, has life under them improved for the citizens of their countries?  Hell no.  Not one bit.  Finally my learned friends, remember this, the only persons who benefit out of any court case are lawyers; no one else.  Everyone else pumps money into the pot to fill the troughs of the lawyers.  This is the most absurd and rediculous lawsuit to be initiated and it will produce nothing for the masses.  Some people just like to stir trouble.

  19. Anonymous says:

    And I thought the West Bay Road ladies were humiliating themselves. 

  20. Samuel Sharp says:

    Colonialist suckers must Pay up !!! Get your check book out Massa?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Some people don't know their Black African history . Slaves were given free passage to go back to Africa after slavery was abolished. They were sent by ships from America during the time of President Monroe. That is where Monrovia gets its name. The first thing they did was to do slavery in their new country. That was one of the first businesses they opened.

  22. Anonymous says:

    as usual ..its all about the benjamins……

  23. Anonymous says:

    "There is no principle in law which permits the organizers of a criminal enterprise to escape responsibility because others collaborated in carrying out the enterprise."  Well first what crime was committed?  Second, these people are seeking money, which is a civil issue not a criminal one.  Third, the civil law rights would permit the estate of slaves to sue the estate of slavers, not politicians trying to get cash.  The technical term, I believe, is BLOWING SMOKE.

  24. JTB says:

    Is this really news?

    irrelevant has-been talks nonsense at make-believe conference…

    still, I'm sure he had an agreeable visit on expenses, and that's the important thing

  25. A Bare -Faced -Lawyer says:

    Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, PJ Patterson said, And I quote: 

    There is no principle in law which permits the organizers of a criminal enterprise to escape responsibility because others collaborated in carrying out the enterprise. Legal responsibility is not affected by any collaboration,” Patterson added. “It was European nations who conceived the trade, put the enterprise into motion, controlled its operation and were massively enriched by it.” 

    You are right in the above statement, Mr. Patterson, but please don't try to give the impression that some of their own people who profited off the slave trade were innocent and guiltless of the same atrocities you attribute to European slave traders.

    May I point out to you sir, there is a word in law "accessory" which has convicted many a criminal, who were found guilty of being an accessory to the crime committed, whether that be a crime of theft, murder or any other unlawful deed. Then there is another word that is quite often used in our courts of law which has convicted many a felon! The word "culpable" Not quite as forceful as being an accessory but still attributes some guilt in the committing of a crime!

    As for the reparations being sought by the "regional conference on reparations" I wish you and your colleagues much luck. But it is my opinion that this is an exercise in futility, because of one over-riding factor. No European court will ever agree to move forward with this for a myriad of reasons, but one in particular. "No court" will charge the descendants of the slave traders from five centuries ago, for the crimes committed by their ancestors.


  26. Anon-E-mousy says:

    What a crock of s***!

    Listen P Gay, a handful of Europeans in wooden dingies armed with 'one-pop' pistols did NOT sail into Africa and begin to round-up & enslave millions of Africans at will.

    Stop smoking that 's**t' your country is famous for.

    Slavery was thriving in Africa for thousands of years before the 'white man' arrived … Just ask the Jewish people, or the Greeks or Italians (Romans), Babylonians, Egyptians, etc.

    Better yet, read your Bible.

    If it's repatriation money you want, go and demand it from the people who Sold us into bondage in the first place. Hint, they live in the same places in Africa where the ships used to sail from. 

    Oh, but they'd probably do to you what they're doing to untold thousands of Africans to this very day … they'd Enslave your greedy ass!

    Isn't it funny (NOT) how silent and inactive our leaders are when our 'brothers' in Africa are being butchered in Wars or 'Ethnic cleansing', or starving or dying of Ebola? I don't see many Caribbean leaders running to help their 'African brothers', unless of course there might be a BIG FAT Paycheck for them to get out of it.

    Lest we forget, it is out of the Evils of the African / American Slave trade that has come the GREATEST OF OPPOTUNITIES for us as a people (Caribbean) … We have gained lands rich with natural resources, and levels of education and opportunities that are the envy of many other nations.

    There are no other nations upon this planet (per capita) that posses the amount of Raw Talent and Natural resources as Jamaica, and the other West Indian nations.

    And what do our great 'Leaders' and bewildered 'Prophets' do? They steal and squander the inheritance of our people for their own personal financial gain. That is why Caribbean nations are   among the most currupt on this plant.

    Do not spit in the face of our Ancestors, but pay homage to their great sacrificie by using our inheritance to the benefit of our people instead of squandering it on the lust and greed of our so called leaders, who steal from the poor so that they can buy 'chateaus' in the very countries that they accuse of denying our 'rights'!

    To try and put a monetary value to this single period in the tens of thousands of years of Slavery that this world has endured, is perhaps the single most DEPRAVED act I have ever had the displeasure to encounter.

    This is nothing short of Hipocracy!

    • Anonymous says:

      I love your powerful opening comment. It really, how shall I put it, sets the tone!

  27. Peanuts says:

    Patterson was a failuure as a leader, for eighteen years he and Omar Davis continued the Destruction of Jamaica that Manley started. Just to remind those who choose not to remember, the Jamaican dollar was two to one US Dollar, today it takes one hundred and twelve Jamaican dollars to buy one US Dollar. Great Socialist Leader. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I've got a Pan Am booklet from the arly seventies that has the exchange rate as being one Jamaican dollar being worth US$1.20. How times have changed!

    • Anonyanmous says:

      Socalism is not the boggey man in the room here.  It is ineffective leader and leadership.  Most European countries are social states and I would much rather live in them, than in capitalism where a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, case in point if you are sick and don't have insurance you don't get medical attention and if you do it's very inadequate anyway.  Yes I will prefer to live in socialist countries like Germany, France, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and many more.

    • Anonymous says:

      …And them there's the loonies here who want independence…Rooster talk show is the bggest culprit…Idiots.

    • Anonymous says:

      MacKeeva will do the same to Cayman…

  28. Anonymous says:

    Before anyone criticizes this proposal, he/she should read as much on the history of this topic as possible. When slaves were emancipated in the Cayman Islands, slave owners were compensated for their losses. This compensation allowed them to start businesses that eventually made many Caymanian families very wealthy. Emancipated blacks received nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, extensive reading is necessary in order to make any comment that has a fighting chance of being remotely coherent, for sure. This is a huge issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      Many former slaves in Cayman were given large tracts of land after abolition of slavery therefore the descendants of those former slaves would be large landowners unless they sold their propertis . If former slave owners were given compensation, the amount given was insignificant and played no part in capital formation to start business. Many dark skinned Caymanian families are among the biggest and wealthiest of land owners in Cayman.

      Africans were sold into slavery by other African tribes so reparation should be sought from those tribes as well. People need to realize that though slavery was evil, the descendants of those slaves are far better off economically, politically and health wise than their distant relatives who remained in West Africa.  A majority of the dark skinned West Indians are middle class or upper middle class whereas in Africa only a small minority( the high level politicians and their cronies) are in that category.


    • Anonymous says:

      You don't need to go back 200 years to find something unfair. When hurricane (insert name here) damaged the homes of people who had no insurance, government restored their homes to a state far superior to what it was before the hurricane, and at no cost to the owner. Who paid for that? We did.! The people who insured their homes, and hence had less money to spend elsewhere, and those who struggled to do their own repairs should now be compensated. Those who received free repairs can easily be identified, as well as those who paid insurance. That was less that 10 years ago, so why don't we address that before another 200 years pass and there is great difficulty in identifying our great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren?

    • Borat says:

      Wrong- they received their freedom. 


      They also did not have to go back to picking their butts in the bush and eating eachother in africa. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I lost my 'helper' yesterday, can I get compensation?

    • Anonymous says:

      Why dont you educate us by way of examples? Which Caymanian families owned estates? The ones from the Brac?  

      • Anonymous says:

        Campbell, Bodden, Foster, Middleton, Eden, to name a few.

        Mary Bodden was compensated for 45 slaves.

        Cayman didn't just have Africans either. In the 1770's some Amerindians were kidnapped from the Mosquito Coast and sold as slaves in Cayman. The Amerinian chiefs successfully  petitioned the Governor of Jamaica for their return.

    • Anonymous says:

      In 1867 the following was written in The FREED – MAN, a monthly magazine devoted to the interests of te freed color people. It would appear that Robert Hugh Monro, a coloured man of large wealth, who died in 1798, left a considerable portion of these endowment funds. He directed in his will, that at the time of the decease of his nephew Caleb Dickenson, certain property should be laid out in the endowment of the school to be erected and maintained for the education of as many poor children of the parish of St. Elizabeth .. In 1821, Charles Dickenson, also a gentle of colour, died and bequeathed 36,000 pounds in money, and certain estates to the value of one hundred thousand pounds for the endowment of a free school.  

      Now, if this magazine, had any shred of truth in it, how did men of colour obtain such wealth during slavery?



    • The Thinker says:

      To Anonymous 21:30

      Methinks you know very little about what really happened whenslaves were given their freedom.  Were you here then?  Your source of imformation probably contains much hearsay and is certainly not one-hundred percent accurate.  It is my belief that Mr. Patterson is just trying to further his own gains.

      • Anonymous says:

        Try reading Michael Craton's book for a beginner.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good grief! There is a large building on the outskirts of George Town, call "The National Archive". I suggest you spend some time there. Or go to another building in the centre of George Town called "The Library" (or Lyberry as many call it). Take out the book "founded Upon the Seas, A History of the Cayman Islands and Their People".

    • Anonymous says:

      But the owners had to give up property rights, so merited compensation.