Jamaica Seeks Reparation From UK Over Slave Trade | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Jamaica Seeks Reparation From UK Over Slave Trade

Posted: Sep 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has walked into a political storm in the Caribbean over whether Jamaica should be compensated for British slavery in the country, which ended nearly 200 years ago.

There is pressure to address the issue when he faces a special session of parliament later, with some campaigners raising alleged links in Cameron’s family tree to Jamaican slavers.

Bert Samuels, from the National Commission On Reparations, said on Jamaican TV, TVJ: “Prime Minister Cameron, his lineage has been traced that his forefathers were slave owners and benefited from slaves.

“He knows his history and therefore he needs to be told to apologise personally and on behalf of his family.”

He added: “The planters lobbied the British Parliament that they were not prepared to put away slavery without compensation and they got a big percentage of the budget out of the English Parliament and we were left behind – we were left behind because of racism.”

The row threatens to overshadow the PM’s trip to the country and his announcement of £300 million in UK aid for infrastructure in the Caribbean.

The government has also said that it would provide £25 million towards a new jail in Jamaica, as part of a scheme to return home more than 300 prisoners serving time in the UK.

On the flight to Jamaica, the PM told reporters: “This is about the future relationship and about what we should be doing together economically in terms of trade and investment and this significant infrastructure fund I am announcing.

“So that is what the visit is about, it’s talking about the future.”

Cameron got a kiss from the Jamaican Prime Minister on arrival, but the reparation issue clearly came up when he held his first talks with Portia Simpson-Miller, who described the issue as “sensitive”.

After the meeting, a Number 10 spokesperson said: “On reparations, the Prime Minister said he understood it was an issue for some people.

“He noted that the Government abhorred slavery and indeed had passed the Modern Slavery Act to tackle human trafficking today.

“He reiterated the long-standing position of the United Kingdom that we do not believe reparation is the right approach.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – who lived in Jamaica for two years – has said he would be prepared to apologise for the slave trade as PM, but he stopped short of saying Britain would pay financial reparations.

Jamaica became a British colony in 1655 – conquered from the Spanish who had already established a trade in slaves.

When Britain abolished slavery in 1834, Jamaica had more than 300,000 slaves compared to less than 17,000 whites.

.Source: Sky News