KINGSTON, July 12 (Reuters) – Jamaica plans to ask Britain for compensation for the Atlantic slave trade in the previous British colony, a senior authorities formal mentioned, below a petition that could find billions of pounds in reparations.
Jamaica was a centre of the slave trade, with the Spanish, then the British, forcibly transporting Africans to do the job on plantations of sugar cane, bananas and other crops that established fortunes for several of their house owners.
“We are hoping for reparatory justice in all types that just one would hope if they are to really assure that we get justice from injustices to fix the damages that our ancestors professional,” Olivia Grange, Minister of Sports activities, Youth and Lifestyle, informed Reuters in an job interview at the weekend.
“Our African ancestors were forcibly eradicated from their home and endured unparalleled atrocities in Africa to carry out pressured labour to the reward of the British Empire,” she included. “Redress is effectively overdue.”
An approximated 600,000 Africans were shipped to toil in Jamaica, according to 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 country of just about three million people today is part of the Commonwealth and the British monarch continues to be head of condition.
Britain prohibited trade in slaves in its empire in 1807 but did not formally abolish the exercise of slavery till 1834.
To compensate slave entrepreneurs, the British authorities took out a 20 million pound mortgage – a quite big sum at the time – and only completed spending off the ensuing interest payments in 2015.
The reparations petition is based mostly on a personal movement by Jamaican lawmaker Mike Henry, who reported it was well worth some 7.6 billion pounds, a sum he estimated is around equal in present day terms to what Britain paid out to the slaveholders.
“I am asking for the same amount of money of revenue to be compensated to the slaves that was paid to the slave owners,” reported Henry, a member of the ruling Jamaica Labour Get together.
“I am accomplishing this for the reason that I have fought towards this all my lifestyle, from chattel slavery which has dehumanized human lifestyle.”
Grange herself declined to give a determine.
The petition, with acceptance from Jamaica’s Countrywide Council on Reparations, will be submitted pending guidance from the attorney normal and a few lawful teams, Grange mentioned. The legal professional common will then send out it to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, she extra.
The initiative follows increasing acknowledgement in some quarters of the job performed by slavery in producing wealth in Britain, with businesses and seats of mastering pledging money contributions in compensation.
They contain insurance plan current market Lloyd’s of London, pub operator Greene King and the College of Glasgow.
The petition also coincides with rising initiatives by some in Jamaica to sever formal ties with the United Kingdom.
Opposition lawmaker Mikael Phillips in December introduced a movement to get rid of the British monarch as head of point out.
More than 15 million men and women were being shackled into the transatlantic slave trade, in accordance to the United Nations.
Enhancing by Dave Graham and Nick Macfie
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