Jamaica: Cameron rejects UK slavery reparations on Jamaica visit

1st Oct 2015
Jamaica: Cameron rejects UK slavery reparations on Jamaica visit
LONDON (AA): David Cameron has dismissed Jamaican calls to make reparations for Britain’s role in the slave trade at the start of an official visit.

The UK Prime Minister said he hoped the Caribbean region could “move on” and help to eliminate modern slavery around the planet.

He made the comments during his visit, the first by a British leader in 14 years, after Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller revealed said she had discussed “the difficult issues of reparations” during one-to-one talks with Cameron.

“I brought to [the] Prime Minister’s attention the issue of reparations, indicating that Jamaica is involved in a process under the auspices of the Caribbean community to engage the UK on the matter, while we are aware of the obvious sensitivities involved,” she said, according to the Jamaica Observer newspaper.

“Let it be clear that Jamaica has committed to a spirit of mutual respect, openness and understanding as we seek to actively engage the UK on the matter.”

Slaves were traded across the British Empire, particularly between colonies in West Africa and the Caribbean, until the practice was progressively outlawed between 1808 and 1833.

Addressing the Jamaican parliament on Friday, Cameron said slavery “was and is abhorrent in all its forms” and acknowledged wounds in the region “run very deep indeed”.

“It has no place whatsoever in any civilised society, and Britain is proud to have eventually led the way in its abolition. That the Caribbean has emerged from the long, dark shadow it cast is testament to the resilience and spirit of its people.

He continued: “But I do hope that, as friends who have gone through so much together since those darkest of times, we can move on from this painful legacy and continue to build for the future.”

Cameron later told reporters that he did not think reparations were the answer.

“I think now what we should be doing is looking to the future and not least the vital work that we do today getting rid of modern slavery and people being trafficked across our planet,” he said.

Author: Michael Sercan Daventry
[Photo: “Granville Sharp and Negro Slave” Image of a painting of Granville Sharp one of the first English campaigners for the abolition of the slave trade (1735-1813). The painting shows Sharpe holding onto a young male slave, the man has a cut to his head and is leaning against a wall. Photograph: Creative Commons]

One Response to “Jamaica: Cameron rejects UK slavery reparations on Jamaica visit”

Elspeth GassOctober 1, 2015

This is wrong – colonialism from all major powers robbed Africa and other continents of their riches and we are still doing it today – help means just that, colonialism is in the past: we should say sorry and not just with the slaves, but with misreporting Muslims in our national press and elsewhere: God is love for everyone, not just the select few – by the way, what is happening in Syria: who is the bad guy? We can stop the war in Syria together: Muslims and Christians; black and white before our political leaders take us into the abyss by misrepresentation; propaganda – just look what happened in World War I and II – do we really want another one?

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