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Slavery Reparations Push


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MIAMI — Leaders of more than a dozen Caribbean countries are launching a united effort to seek compensation from three European nations for what they say is the lingering legacy of the Atlantic slave trade.

The Caribbean Community, a regional organization that typically focuses on rather dry issues such as economic integration, has taken up the cause of compensation for slavery and the genocide of native peoples and is preparing for what would likely be a drawn-out battle with the governments of Britain, France and the Netherlands.

Caricom, as the organization is known, has enlisted the help of a prominent British human rights law firm and is creating a Reparations Commission to press the issue, said Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, who has been leading the effort.

The legacy of slavery includes widespread poverty and the lack of development that characterizes most of the region, Gonsalves said, adding that any settlement should include a formal apology, but contrition alone would not be sufficient.

"The apology is important but that is wholly insufficient," he said in a phone interview Wednesday with The Associated Press. "We have to have appropriate recompense."

The notion of forcing the countries that benefited from slavery to pay reparations has been a decades-long quest. Individual countries including Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda already had existing national commissions. Earlier this month, leaders from the 14 Caricom nations voted unanimously at a meeting in Trinidad to wage a joint campaign that those involved say would be more ambitious than any previous effort.

Each nation that does not have a national reparations commission agreed to set one up, sending a representative to the regional commission, which would be overseen by prime ministers. They agreed to focus on Britain on behalf of the English-speaking Caribbean as well as France for the slavery in Haiti and the Netherlands for Suriname, a former Dutch colony on the northeastern edge of South America that is a member of Caricom.

In addition, they brought on the British law firm of Leigh Day, which waged a successful fight for compensation for hundreds of Kenyans who were tortured by the British colonial government as they fought for the liberation of their country during the so-called Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s and 1960s.

Attorney Martyn Day said his first step would likely be to seek a negotiated settlement with the governments of France, Britain and Netherlands along the lines of the British agreement in June to issue a statement of regret and award compensation of about $21.5 million to the surviving Kenyans.

"I think they would undoubtedly want to try and see if this can be resolved amicably," Day said of the Caribbean countries. "But I think the reason they have hired us is that they want to show that they mean business."

Caribbean officials have not mentioned a specific monetary figure but Gonsalves and Verene Shepherd, chairwoman of the national reparations commission in Jamaica, both mentioned the fact that Britain at the time of emancipation in 1834 paid 20 million pounds to British planters in the Caribbean, the equivalent of 200 billion pounds today.

"Our ancestors got nothing," Shepherd said. "They got their freedom and they were told `Go develop yourselves.'"

British High Commissioner to Jamaica David Fitton was quizzed on the issue Wednesday during a radio interview and said that the Mau Mau case was not meant to be a precedent and that his government opposes reparations for slavery.

"We don't think the issue of reparations is the right way to address these issues," Fitton said. "It's not the right way to address an historical problem."

In 2007, marking the 200th anniversary of the British prohibition on the transportation of slaves, then British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed regret for the "unbearable suffering" caused by his country's role in slavery. After the devastating Haitian earthquake in January 2010, then French President Nicolas Sarkozy was asked about reparations for slavery and the 90 million gold francs demanded by Napoleon to recognize the country's independence. Sarkozy acknolwedged the "wounds of colonization," and pointed out that France had canceled a 56 million euro debt to Paris and approved an aid package that included 40 million euros in budget support for the Haitian government.

Gonsalves said far more needs to be done and he hopes to begin an "honest, sober and robust," discussion with the European governments soon and intends to champion the issue when he becomes the chairman of Caricom in January. "You have to seize the time," he said.

 

 

From Huff Post

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In a way, they have a point - if we gave £21mill to surviving Kenyan slaves recently, then a precedent has been set.

 

Also, the £200 billion (in todays money) we gave to the slavers to free the slaves probably doesn't help.

 

but yes, they are bunch of chancers just hoping for a quick buck.

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In a way, they have a point - if we gave £21mill to surviving Kenyan slaves recently, then a precedent has been set.

Wasn't slaves, it was torture during the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950's and 60's, totally different situation, therefore no precedent. Different timescale, there will still be survivors and direct descendants and different events.

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In a way, they have a point - if we gave £21mill to surviving Kenyan slaves recently, then a precedent has been set.

 

Also, the £200 billion (in todays money) we gave to the slavers to free the slaves probably doesn't help.

 

but yes, they are bunch of chancers just hoping for a quick buck.

 

You quote the compensation given to slavers.  This is where Cameron's family's wealth derives.  Immoral, offensive, should be taken off him, preferably by force.

 

People demanding reparation for this and other crimes are in a very different position.

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Cameron's first cousin 6 times removed

Somehow I doubt the comp money even made its way close to Cameron

His father made his wealth in the stockmarket .... But no doubt you think that is immoral as well ?

Edited by tonyh29
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Cameron's first cousin 6 times removed

Somehow I doubt the componey even made its way close to Cameron

His father made his wealth in the stockmarket .... But no doubt you think that is immoral as well ?

 

No, just David.

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MIAMI — Leaders of more than a dozen Caribbean countries are launching a united effort to seek compensation from three European nations for what they say is the lingering legacy of the Atlantic slave trade.

The Caribbean Community, a regional organization that typically focuses on rather dry issues such as economic integration, has taken up the cause of compensation for slavery and the genocide of native peoples and is preparing for what would likely be a drawn-out battle with the governments of Britain, France and the Netherlands.

Caricom, as the organization is known, has enlisted the help of a prominent British human rights law firm and is creating a Reparations Commission to press the issue, said Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, who has been leading the effort.

The legacy of slavery includes widespread poverty and the lack of development that characterizes most of the region, Gonsalves said, adding that any settlement should include a formal apology, but contrition alone would not be sufficient.

"The apology is important but that is wholly insufficient," he said in a phone interview Wednesday with The Associated Press. "We have to have appropriate recompense."

The notion of forcing the countries that benefited from slavery to pay reparations has been a decades-long quest. Individual countries including Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda already had existing national commissions. Earlier this month, leaders from the 14 Caricom nations voted unanimously at a meeting in Trinidad to wage a joint campaign that those involved say would be more ambitious than any previous effort.

Each nation that does not have a national reparations commission agreed to set one up, sending a representative to the regional commission, which would be overseen by prime ministers. They agreed to focus on Britain on behalf of the English-speaking Caribbean as well as France for the slavery in Haiti and the Netherlands for Suriname, a former Dutch colony on the northeastern edge of South America that is a member of Caricom.

In addition, they brought on the British law firm of Leigh Day, which waged a successful fight for compensation for hundreds of Kenyans who were tortured by the British colonial government as they fought for the liberation of their country during the so-called Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s and 1960s.

Attorney Martyn Day said his first step would likely be to seek a negotiated settlement with the governments of France, Britain and Netherlands along the lines of the British agreement in June to issue a statement of regret and award compensation of about $21.5 million to the surviving Kenyans.

"I think they would undoubtedly want to try and see if this can be resolved amicably," Day said of the Caribbean countries. "But I think the reason they have hired us is that they want to show that they mean business."

Caribbean officials have not mentioned a specific monetary figure but Gonsalves and Verene Shepherd, chairwoman of the national reparations commission in Jamaica, both mentioned the fact that Britain at the time of emancipation in 1834 paid 20 million pounds to British planters in the Caribbean, the equivalent of 200 billion pounds today.

"Our ancestors got nothing," Shepherd said. "They got their freedom and they were told `Go develop yourselves.'"

British High Commissioner to Jamaica David Fitton was quizzed on the issue Wednesday during a radio interview and said that the Mau Mau case was not meant to be a precedent and that his government opposes reparations for slavery.

"We don't think the issue of reparations is the right way to address these issues," Fitton said. "It's not the right way to address an historical problem."

In 2007, marking the 200th anniversary of the British prohibition on the transportation of slaves, then British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed regret for the "unbearable suffering" caused by his country's role in slavery. After the devastating Haitian earthquake in January 2010, then French President Nicolas Sarkozy was asked about reparations for slavery and the 90 million gold francs demanded by Napoleon to recognize the country's independence. Sarkozy acknolwedged the "wounds of colonization," and pointed out that France had canceled a 56 million euro debt to Paris and approved an aid package that included 40 million euros in budget support for the Haitian government.

Gonsalves said far more needs to be done and he hopes to begin an "honest, sober and robust," discussion with the European governments soon and intends to champion the issue when he becomes the chairman of Caricom in January. "You have to seize the time," he said.

 

 

From Huff Post

 

Interesting...Nothing to do with being short of a bit of cash then.

I wonder which individuals would benefit from reperations !

Without wishing to minimise the effects of our past Colonialism / Imperialism, 

I presume he will now also be chasing up descendants of the native African slave traders,

who rounded up and sold kith and kin on to the Europeans.

Could we make a claim against those horrible Norman invaders, who imposed a form of Apartheid

in England for two hundred years?

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Cameron's first cousin 6 times removed

Somehow I doubt the comp money even made its way close to Cameron

His father made his wealth in the stockmarket .... But no doubt you think that is immoral as well ?

 

Six times removed refers to the connection being several generations ago, not the closeness of the connection, for anyone who's misled by that.  It's because the compo was given out several generations ago, when slavery was outlawed.

 

Sam Cam's family also received £millions (in today's money) of compensation from public funds for the inconvenience of not being able to keep slaves any longer.

 

The money paid to these people was simply staggering:

 

 

The British government paid out £20m to compensate some 3,000 families that owned slaves for the loss of their "property" when slave-ownership was abolished in Britain's colonies in 1833. This figure represented a staggering 40 per cent of the Treasury's annual spending budget and, in today's terms, calculated as wage values, equates to around £16.5bn.

 

Plunging the government budget into deficit, I have no doubt.  But that seems to have been quite ok, when it involves giving very large handouts to very wealthy people.

 

This massively generous handout was worth over £3m to Sam Cam's family, in today's money.  Daddy now owns 3,000 acres in Lincolnshire, no doubt getting EU subsidies on that as well ("I was brought up in Scunthorpe", she says...).

 

I suggest the reparations fund be endowed with the entire wealth of both sides of the Cameron family.  It seems only right and fitting.

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