Jamaican Culture Minister Olivia Grunge said the country would file a petition seeking billions of pounds in compensation from the UK for the Atlantic slave trade in the former British colony and that she was only waiting for legal advice.
“If they affirm our right to justice from the injustice done to our forefathers, we hope they will achieve justice that will compensate them in all the forms they expect,” Grunge told Reuters in an interview.
“Our African ancestors were forced out of their homes and subjected to unparalleled atrocities in Africa for forced labor for the benefit of the British Empire,” he added.
According to the Daily Mail, Jamaica was a center of the slave trade, where the Spaniards and later the British forced Africans to work on plantations of sugarcane, bananas and other crops, which brought good luck to many owners..
Samuel Sharpe Memorial – The Slave Man Who Leaded the Revolt Against the British
The National Library of Jamaica estimates that 600,000 Africans have been sent to work from Jamaica..
According to the British Daily Mail, Jamaica was captured by the British from Spain in 1655, was a British colony until independence in 1962, and it is unclear whether Jamaica will seek compensation from a Spaniard.
Britain outlawed the slave trade in its empire in 1807, but did not formally abolish slavery until 1834..
To compensate the slave owners, the British government borrowed $ 20 million – the largest amount at the time – and ended interest payments only in 2015..
The compensation petition is based on a special plan presented by Jamaican legislator Mike Henry, who said it was worth about $ 7.6 billion, which is estimated to be roughly equivalent today to the amount paid to British slave owners..
Henry, a member of Jamaica’s ruling Labor Party, said, “I ask that slaves be paid the same amount as slave owners.”