British Prime Minister David Cameron’s upcoming visit to the Caribbean island nation of Jamaica has sparked a renewed call by Jamaican professors and politicians that the United Kingdom should pay reparations for slavery.
The chairman of the Caribbean Caricom Reparations Committee, Sir Hilary Beckles, wrote an open letter to the British Prime Minister published by the Jamaican Observer in which he explicitly stated that the United Kingdom has a “duty to alleviate” the continuing suffering of the Caribbean people.
Jamaican MP Mike Henry said he would not attend any event which the British Prime Minister will attend if reparation is not included in the agenda. “There was not a dissenting voice in the parliament,” Mike Henry said, referring to the idea of boycotting any functions involving David Cameron that was presented before the Jamaican parliament.
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Several Caribbean nations have already started a process by which they plan to officially demand reparation from European nations for the wars and slavery that were rampant during the era of European colonization.
We ask not for handouts or any such acts of indecent submission. We merely ask that you acknowledge responsibility for your share of this situation and move to contribute in a joint program of rehabilitation and renewal. The continuing suffering of our people, Sir, is as much your nation’s duty to alleviate as it is ours to resolve in steadfast acts of self-responsibility.