Jamaica To Ask UK For Billions In Reparations Over Slavery

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Jamaica plans to demand financial compensation from the U.K. government for its involvement in the transatlantic slave trade, a senior Jamaican government official said at the weekend.

A corresponding petition will be submitted to either Queen Elizabeth II or the U.K. government,  Jamaican Minister for Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange said, according to The Independent.

“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,” Grange told Reuters during an interview at the weekend.

“Our African ancestors were forcibly removed from their home and suffered unparalleled atrocities in Africa to carry out forced labor to the benefit of the British Empire. Redress is well overdue,” the minister added. (RELATED: Task Force Focusing On Reparations For Black Americans Meets For First Time In California)

The petition reportedly stems from a private motion by Jamaican lawmaker Mike Henry, who argued that the U.K. government should pay up £7.6 billion in reparations, Reuters reported.

The sum is a rough equivalent of £20 million that British government borrowed from the Treasury to compensate slave owners that suffered economic losses following the abolition of slavery in 1834, according to Reuters.

Between 1655 and 1838, around 600,000 of over three million Africans enslaved by the British Empire during the transatlantic slave trade were shipped to Jamaica, according to the estimates by The National Library of Jamaica, Reuters reported.