Little Known Black History Fact: Jamaica Reparations

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  • A new reparations committee has been formed in Jamaica to determine if reparations should be given from Britain. The group is made of twelve academics, lawyers, Rastafarians and students. More than 600,000 Africans were shipped to the British colonies in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The conditions of Jamaican slaves on the sugar plantations were considered more brutal than those of America. In turn, Jamaica was said to have the highest number of slave revolts than any other island of the Caribbean. There were over twelve reported conspiracies. Even the freed slaves were used against the enslaved by the British government. They were looked upon to settle any protest.

    The practice of slavery in Jamaica was legally abolished on August 1, 1834. But the slaves, who were still subservient to owners, were now called apprentices, to adhere to the new government rule against slavery.

    There has been no clear dollar figure for reparations, but some experts have quoted trillions of dollars, based on the effect slavery had on the Caribbean economy. The Rastafarian community has asked for billion of dollars to help resettle the 500,000 people within the country. The committee has been given 2.5 years to state their case and be heard by the British government. They have also considered the request for a formal apology from Britain.

    This is the second attempt at reparations by Jamaica. The first was in 2009, which was dropped after the depletion of funds. A few years prior, in 2006, British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed concern for the slave trade activity of Britain but did not issue a formal apology.

    The current committee is under legal guidance by Anthony Gifford, a prominent British-Jamaican lawyer.
     

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