It’s time to pay up!
Jamaican officials are set to petition the British government for slavery reparations, Essence reports.
Jamaican officials are getting ready to petition Britain for reparations due to the country’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. According to the National Library of Jamaica, some 600,000 Africans were taken from their homes, shipped to Jamaica, and forced to be chattel slaves. Jamaica was first colonized by Spain and then Britain until it gained its independence in 1962.
When Britain officially abolished slavery in 1834, surprisingly, they did pay reparations - to slave owners. The British government took out a 20 million pound loan to pay the slave owners, finishing the interest payments in 2015. Mike Henry, a Jamaican lawmaker, is spearheading the petition for reparations.
“I am asking for the same amount of money to be paid to the slaves that was paid to the slave owners,” Henry said.
The petition calls for Britain to compensate Jamaicans 7.6 billion pounds (about $10.5 billion USD) as reparations. Once approved by Jamaica’s National Commission on Reparations, the petition will be reviewed by the country’s attorney general and three legal teams and then sent to Queen Elizabeth.
The Commission was established by the Jamaican government in 2009 with the sole purpose of “[recommending] the form or forms which reparations may take, and to receive testimony from the public and from experts, with the aim of guiding a national approach to reparations.”
The Jamaica Information Service spoke previously in 2014 in favor of reparations, stating, “[Slavery] was declared a crime against humanity by the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in South Africa in 2001. Acts of reparations have been established as an appropriate form of redress in instances where such injustices have been inflicted.”
Jamaica’s Minister of Sports, Youth, and Culture, Olivia Grange, echoed those sentiments, saying, “[Our] African ancestors were forcibly removed from their home and suffered unparalleled atrocities in Africa to carry out forced labour to the benefit of the British Empire. Redress is well overdue.”
Jamaica to the world!
Photo Courtesy of Mike Hewitt/FIFA/Getty Images