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UK rejects reparations

THE UK Government is blocking attempts to force it to pay reparations for slavery.

Reparations “are not the answer” it said and governments “cannot take responsibility for what happened over 200 years ago.”

The statement came after CARICOM countries filed a lawsuit against Britain, France and the Netherlands for their roles in slavery.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, argued that European nations must pay for their historic actions.

CARICOM hired London-based law firm Leigh Day, which earlier this year won £19.9m in compensation for Kenyans tortured during the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s and ’60s.

Yesterday a spokesman for the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office told The Tribune: “Slavery was and is abhorrent. It is a sad fact that, although slavery is outlawed internationally, millions of people are still living in conditions of slavery worldwide. The UK unreservedly condemns slavery and is committed to eliminating it. “We do not see reparations as the answer.

“Instead, we should concentrate on identifying ways forward with a focus on the shared global challenges that face our countries in the twenty-first century.

“We regret and condemn the iniquities of the historic slave trade, but these shameful activities belong to the past.

“Governments today cannot take responsibility for what happened over 200 years ago.

“We remain fully committed to eradicating contemporary slavery and have a clear domestic strategy on human trafficking which we are working hard to implement.”

The Bahamas’ Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said last week that the government had put together an informal group to guide deliberations over whether or not the Bahamas should pursue reparations from slavery as part of the Caribbean contingent.

While he defended CARICOM’s decision to establish a Reparations Commission, Mr Mitchell said no decision had been made to take part in a legal suit against Britain, Holland and France for slavery compensation payments.

The group consists of former education minister Alfred Sears, former MP Philip Smith and foreign service officer Charmaine Williams.

Comments

henny 10 years, 8 months ago

What did you really expect?? I agree what happened 200 years ago is not today's governments responsibility. Slavery is still going on in parts of the world today. Don't blame today's ignorance on slavery days. It has nothing to do with it. Focus on putting more emphasis on your education system. Get rid of the slum areas and illegal immigrants. Find better ways to make the Bahamas a better place to live....the way it was 20-30 years ago.

John 10 years, 8 months ago

Of course they are expected t put up a defense. But the courts will hear the case on its merits and we will prevail, Looking for property as we speak. Lyford Cay is too stuffy for me, I'm thinking a family island where I can get back into slavery..err I mean farming

Tarzan 10 years, 8 months ago

John, Who is "we" and who is "they"? By the way what exactly would you do if you didn't have Lyford Cay as an image to which you could irrationally ascribe all evil?

Does "we" include descendants of slave owners living in CARICOM countries? There are tens of thousands of them you know.

At what level of descent do you feel someone remains responsible for the acts of his antecedents? Are responsible for the acts of you father? Does it go back to Biblical times?

Who is "they"? Does it include the millions of descendants of slaves who live in the U.K. and pay taxes there?

This is a joke, and a typical waste of time in office by Comrade Fred.

John 10 years, 8 months ago

"we" are the descendants of slaves. "they" already got compensation when slavery was abolished. If you were following my posts (and I only post under 'John' no other names or no variations of 'John'), That is why I said reparations should go to individuals and not countries. If it does, then slave owners would have benefitted from slavery, they would have benefitted from the compensation they got when slavery was abolished, and now they will benefit from reparations. I also said very early in these discussions that I personally would not sue for reparations. The reward our forefathers will receive for this tribulation period in our history will be greater than any man or any country my can pay. And it will not be something that can be lost trying to imitate the Lifestyle if Lyford Cay or anywhere. See how many multi-million dollar homes in California and consumed by fire every year. But if reparations are paid I will not refuse mines.

ThisIsOurs 10 years, 8 months ago

Wake up John. On the one in a million chance any money is ever awarded 50years from now, 99% of it will go to lawyers fees. The govt ministers will "procure" about 0.99%. And if they decide to distribute the remainder to your great-grans, they will each get about $20.

So work for you on Monday, but you do get January 10th off if that is any consolation...

watcher 10 years, 8 months ago

Dagnabbit - no handouts from the UK.

I know........ let's go for Spain next, seeing as Columbus wiped out all our true ancestors. And if that fails, then the leaders of the West African nations, who sold our forefathers to the slavers, then the French who colonised Haiti. Hmmmm, I'm panicking now.....come on - there must be SOMEBODY who will give us money for nothing

John 10 years, 8 months ago

Take it a little further, HOW MUCH DID HAITI HAVE TO PAY TO GAIN ITS FREEDOM FROM FRANCE? Haiti was one of the (first) most successful empires of freed black people in the western world. Its constitution in 1804 banned (foreign) white people from owning land in that country. But the countries that engaged in slavery couldn't deal with Haiti's success. France demanded huge payments for Haiti's independence and other countries imposed trade embargoes against the country until they crippled its economy. But the bible promises that despite the travail, the servants will become the masters.

proudloudandfnm 10 years, 8 months ago

The bible also supports slavery fully. Slaves love your masters...

Bottom line though this is just plain stupid.

John 10 years, 8 months ago

that is what the Catholic church taught, because they were busy converting slaves as they came from Africa. bring the scripture and verse! Even the devil can misquote scripture!

aloethree 10 years, 8 months ago

I agree the UK should not pay for reparations for slavery as it occurred more than 200 years ago and it was the norm of the day and was necessary for the people of the time to create the New World, the government of the UK today is not the same of yesterday. While slavery has caused tremendous displacement for the African people, it has created a new culture and opportunity for the same, Caricom members must continue to fight corruption and build and strengthen the West Indian nations.

Mouse 10 years, 8 months ago

All of you people are so ignorant and uneducated who feel the respected govs today have nothing to do with what happen 200 years ago. How do you think some of those European nations became super powers ? They got rich of the sweat of the SLAVES who were never compensated. Just how the queen and rich people pass down inheritance and keep their empires going the slaves didn't have that privileged !!! They owe families billions of $$$. Just the fact that they feel it has nothing to do with them shows they are not sorry for what happen. If you steal something from somebody today, you give it back, apologize and ask for forgiveness. They did none. Black people have nothing today because of the injustice that was done to us for 400 plus years. We had to start from scratch while still being persecuted. I cry shame on the UK !!! They simply want to avoid being responsible for their role in the atrocities to the slaves. Sue them for every dollar !!! I hope the Caribbean nations cripple them !!! Then they wouldn't be going around the world picking fights and overthrowing Govs. The Indians were compensated !!! The Japanese were compensated !!! The so called Jews were compensated !!! Now it's our time !!!

Ryan 10 years, 8 months ago

@rory Boy you are one ignorant person sad to say a lot of y'all blacks would say the samething. How many blacks men and women lost there live for you to be free today. fucking million, We stand as a race that what all this is about you better check your history books buddy and not one given to you by the white man!! GO DEEP.All this has been start by the whites man and they still got us under slavery today!! You better look around and see what the color of skin that these big business owner are. And they need ignorant people like yourself to keep them uplifted feeling like they better than us . While they stole our land ,culture,rape ,murder, ,brainwash our people you think that right? Your last name is a slave master last name (boy).And i said (boy) just like how the slave master did..... Yea black people mess up in the head but the white man is the cause everything going on with us today.. have a look at this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA37C9Zy…

JConchy 10 years, 3 months ago

The History of the Bahamas tells me that it was white Americans fleeing the USA who brought slaves to the Bahamas and of the poor captured Africans who were landed in the Bahamas straight from ships it was because they had been freed by the British Royal Navy from slavers eg Congo Town.

Why is the USA not being sued? And maybe the Royal Navy might like some recognition for having liberated so many captured Africans. The promoters of this frivolous litigation had better study history a little more before getting in too deep.

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