Jamaica 'to request UK pays billions' over slave trade past

12 July 2021, 22:33 | Updated: 12 July 2021, 22:36

The UK has reexamined its participation in the slave trade
The UK has reexamined its participation in the slave trade. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Jamaica is set to request billions of pounds in reparations from the UK over the Atlantic slave trade.

A government minister for the Caribbean island told Reuters news agency that they wanted to "get justice from injustices".

The country was a major destination for slave ships, which transported people from Africa to force them to work on the plantations.

Olivia Grange, the Jamaican minister of sports, youth and culture, told Reuters: "We are hoping for reparatory justice in all forms that one would expect if they are to really ensure that we get justice from injustices to repair the damages that our ancestors experienced.

"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."

Read more: Race report accused of 'glorifying' slave trade by Labour MP

The agency said the National Library of Jamaica estimates 600,000 Africans were shipped to Jamaica.

Britain passed a law which abolished slavery in 1833, after implementing acts that curbed the slave trade.

It comes after the UK's and other European countries' pasts of racial exploitation were re-examined.

The global Black Lives Matter movement saw countries apply focus to historical figures and issues related to the slave trade and its impact.

Recently, there has been focus on France's history in Africa, while Germany agreed to pay just under £1 billion to Namibia for large-scale killings carried out by its colonisers early in the 20th century.

A specific figure was not given to Reuters, and the petition for reparations is awaiting sign off from legal experts.

It was based on a motion from Mike Henry, a Jamaican lawmaker who believes the figure could be £7.6 billion.