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Caribbean Nations Push For Slavery Reparations

From Reuters:

Caribbean nations consider push for slavery reparations

By Aileen Torres | March 6, 2014

KINGSTON (Reuters) – More than 150 years after European colonial powers abolished slavery, a coalition of Caribbean nations is considering legal action to seek a formal apology and monetary compensation.

Caribbean leaders meeting next week in St. Vincent are expected to study a broad legal outline for the reparations claim prepared by a British law firm.

The subject of reparations has simmered in the Caribbean for many years and opinions are divided. Some see reparations as delayed justice, while others see it as an empty claim and a distraction from modern social problems in Caribbean societies.

Slavery ended throughout the Caribbean in the 1800s in the wake of slave revolts, and left many of the region’s plantation economies in tatters. If the leaders decide to go ahead, a legal complaint will be filed against European states, possibly opening the way for formal negotiations.

The European states targeted are Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

That’s odd. We thought only the US ever had slaves.

"Undoubtedly, Britain faces more claims than anyone else because it was the primary slave power and colonial power in the Caribbean," Martyn Day, the British lawyer advising the Caribbean nations, said in an interview. "Britain will be very much at the forefront."

Britain’s government is aware of the proposed legal action, its foreign office said. "Slavery was and is abhorrent. The United Kingdom unreservedly condemns slavery and is committed to eliminating it," a spokesperson said, adding that reparations are not the answer. "Instead, we should concentrate on identifying ways forward with a focus on the shared global challenges that face our countries in the 21st century."

Legal experts say the lawsuit would be a long shot at best…

Don’t bet the plantation on that.

"There is no legal basis for a claim for reparations," Robert A. Sedler, a professor at Wayne State University Law School, said. "Slavery was legal at the time, and international law was not a part of the law of the European states. Moreover, a long period of time has passed, and all the victims of slavery are long dead," he added.

Some reparations cases have popped up in the United States over the last decade, but no one has been awarded compensation…

It depends on how you define ‘compensation.’ in fact, the theme in the US is: ‘Reparations now, reparations tomorrow, reparations forever.’

Gonsalves said slavery so traumatized society in Caribbean countries that they have still not fully recovered.

The reparations claim takes into account what its authors say are slavery-related chronic diseases such as hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, widespread illiteracy, the lack of museums and research centers for Caribbean history, the lack of respect for African culture and identity, continuing psychological effects of centuries of slavery, and the lack of scientific and technical know-how to compete in the global economy…

Absolutely. There is just no other explanation.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, March 7th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Caribbean Nations Push For Slavery Reparations”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    .. because no African tribe ever took or sold slaves ..

    • canary says:

      As a matter of fact black on black children slavery is growing worse today than ever in African history, especially in the Congo where slavery of all ages is growing.

  2. Astravogel says:

    Some of my ancestors were kicked around by the Romans
    in Gaul and the Northern Lakes beyond the Rubicon, and since
    the Vatican is the survivor of Rome, I think they owe me big time.
    Small bills, please.

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