Caribbean Adopts Plan to Seek Slavery Reparations

Duggie Joseph and David McFadden, Big Story, March 10, 2014

Leaders of Caribbean nations on Monday unanimously adopted a broad plan on seeking reparations from European nations for what they say are the lingering ill effects of the Atlantic slave trade on the region.

A British human rights law firm hired by the Caribbean Community grouping of nations announced that prime ministers had authorized a 10-point plan that would seek a formal apology and debt cancellation from former colonizers such as Britain, France and the Netherlands. {snip}

According to the Leigh Day law firm, the Caribbean Community also wants reparation payments to repair the persisting “psychological trauma” from the days of plantation slavery and calls for assistance to boost the region’s technological know-how since the Caribbean was denied participation in Europe’s industrialization and confined to producing and exporting raw materials such as sugar.

The plan further demands European aid in strengthening the region’s public health, educational and cultural institutions such as museums and research centers.

It is even pushing for the creation of a “repatriation program,” including legal and diplomatic assistance from European governments, to potentially resettle members of the Rastafarian spiritual movement in Africa. {snip}

Martyn Day of the law firm called the plan a “fair set of demands on the governments whose countries grew rich at the expense of those regions whose human wealth was stolen from them.”

Day said an upcoming meeting in London between Caribbean and European officials “will enable our clients to quickly gauge whether or not their concerns are being taken seriously.” {snip}


In 2007, then British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed regret for the “unbearable suffering” caused by his country’s role in slavery but made no formal apology. In 2010, then French President Nicolas Sarkozy acknowledged the “wounds of colonization” and pointed out France had canceled a 56 million euro debt owed by Haiti and approved an aid package.

The Caribbean Reparations Commission said Monday that far more needed to be done for the descendants of slaves on struggling islands, saying it sees the “persistent racial victimization of the descendants of slavery and genocide as the root cause of their suffering today.”

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