News Asia-Pacific

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Caribbean reparation demands unveiled

Caribbean states seek slave-trade reparation

Philip Sherwell

Published 12/03/2014 | 02:30

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State of heads of the Caribbean Community
State of heads of the Caribbean Community

A coalition of Caribbean countries has unveiled its demands for reparations from Britain and other European nations for the enduring legacy of the slave trade.

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The leaders of 15 states adopted a plan that includes seeking a formal apology from former colonial powers, debt cancellation, greater development aid, as well as unspecified financial damages for the "psychological trauma" from the days of plantation slavery.

The demands to be made of former slaving nations such as Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Holland were agreed at a closed-door meeting of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

TORTURED

The group hired Leigh Day, a British law firm, to push its claims after the company secured a £20m (€24m) compensation award for Kenyans tortured during the Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950s.

The reparations debate has long simmered in the Caribbean where many blame slavery for modern ills, ranging from economic weakness to health epidemics such as diabetes and hypertension allegedly caused by their ancestors' poor diets.

Caricom is pushing for increased technological assistance as it says European powers shackled the region during the world's industrialisation by confining it to producing and exporting raw materials such as sugar.

The plan demands increased of aid for public health and educational and cultural institutions such as museums and research centres. And it calls for the creation of "repatriation programmes" to help resettle members of the Rastafarian movement in Africa.

Martin Day, of Leigh Day, said he would request a meeting with European officials to seek a settlement, but would pursue a legal complaint if Caribbean nations were not satisfied with the outcome. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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