Jamaica plans to ask Britain for compensation for the Atlantic slave commerce within the former British colony, a senior authorities official mentioned, underneath a petition that might search billions of kilos in reparations. Jamaica was a centre of the slave commerce, with the Spanish, then the British, forcibly transporting Africans to work on plantations of sugar cane, bananas and different crops that created fortunes for a lot of of their homeowners.
“We hope for reparatory justice in all varieties that one would anticipate if they’re to essentially be certain that we get justice from injustices to restore the damages that our ancestors skilled,” Olivia Grange, Minister of Sports activities, Youth and Tradition, advised Reuters in an interview on the weekend.
“Our African ancestors have been forcibly faraway from their dwelling and suffered unparalleled atrocities in Africa to hold out compelled labour to the good thing about the British Empire,” she added. “Redress is properly overdue.”
An estimated 600,000 Africans have been shipped to toil in Jamaica, in accordance with the Nationwide Library of Jamaica.
Seized from Spain by the English in 1655, Jamaica was a British colony till it grew to become unbiased in 1962. The West Indian nation of just about three million folks is a part of the Commonwealth and the British monarch stays head of state.
Britain prohibited commerce in slaves in its empire in 1807 however didn’t formally abolish the observe of slavery till 1834. To compensate slave homeowners, the British authorities took out a 20 million pound mortgage – a really giant sum on the time – and solely completed paying off the following curiosity funds in 2015. The reparations petition is predicated on a personal movement by Jamaican lawmaker Mike Henry, who mentioned it was price some 7.6 billion kilos, a sum he estimated is roughly equal in at the moment’s phrases to what Britain paid to the slaveholders.
“I’m asking for a similar amount of cash to be paid to the slaves that was paid to the slave homeowners,” mentioned Henry, a member of the ruling Jamaica Labour Occasion. “I’m doing this as a result of I’ve fought in opposition to this all my life, in opposition to chattel slavery which has dehumanized human life.”
Grange herself declined to provide a determine. The petition, with approval from Jamaica’s Nationwide Council on Reparations, can be filed pending recommendation from the lawyer common and three authorized groups, Grange mentioned. The lawyer common will then ship it to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, she added.
The initiative follows rising acknowledgement in some quarters of the function performed by slavery in producing wealth in Britain, with companies and seats of studying pledging monetary contributions in compensation. They embrace insurance coverage market Lloyd’s of London, pub proprietor Greene King and the College of Glasgow.
The petition additionally coincides with growing efforts by some in Jamaica to sever formal ties with the UK.
Opposition lawmaker Mikael Phillips in December introduced a movement to take away the British monarch as head of state.
Greater than 15 million folks have been shackled into the transatlantic slave commerce, in accordance with the United Nations.