Sir Hilary puts case for reparations
A leading Caribbean intellectual has presented a compelling argument of why Britain should pay to former colonies in the region reparations for slavery and native genocide.
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders at their summit in Trinidad and Tobago in July agreed to the formation of the Commission that will be chaired by Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and include St Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
The regional countries have also engaged the services of a prominent British human rights law firm to assist in the matter.
“We are focusing on Britain because Britain was the largest owners of slaves at Emancipation in the 1830s. The British made the most money out of slavery and the slave trade — they got the lion share. And, importantly, they knew how to convert slave profits into industrial profits,” said Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Speaking at a lecture Tuesday night on the title of his latest book, Britain’s Black Debt: Reparations for Caribbean Slavery and Native Genocide, the academic detailed how the British government and British citizens used slavery to enrich themselves.
He further noted that while at Emancipation, reparations were paid to former slave owners, the slaves got nothing.
Professor Beckles argued that the reparation monies stimulated the British economy for half a century after Emancipation, but “here in the Caribbean, the islands were descended into poverty after Emancipation. (CMC)