Posted on July 16, 2021

Jamaica Seeks Billions of Pounds From U.K. Over Slavery Reparations

Katherine Fung, Newsweek, July 12, 2021

Jamaica is seeking billions of pounds in reparations from Britain as compensation for the Atlantic slave trade during its time as a British colony.

“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,” Jamaica’s Sports, Youth and Culture Minister Olivia Grange told Reuters.

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

The reparations petition is based on a private motion brought forward by Labor Party MP Mike Henry, who says the British government owes 7.6 billion pounds to Jamaica for paying roughly the equivalent of the same sum to slaveholders at the time.

As a former colony, Jamaica was the center of the slave trade where Africans were transported—first by the Spanish and then the British—to work on plantations of sugar cane, bananas and other crops. According to the National Library of Jamaica, an estimated 600,000 slaves were shipped to West Indian country.

Following emancipation, the British government took out a 20 million–pound loan to compensate slave owners who would no longer have slaves to provide free labor and only finished paying off interest payments, through taxpayer dollars, six years ago. {snip}