Jamaica is planning to ask the United Kingdom for billions of dollars in compensation for the Atlantic slave trade in the former British colony, a senior government official confirmed.
Jamaica will file a petition for the reparations, pending legal advice, according to Olivia Grange, Jamaica's minister of sports, youth and culture.
She said the country hopes for “reparatory justice in all forms” to “repair the damages that our ancestors experienced”.
The former British colonies of the Caribbean were all involved in the slave trade but only Jamaica alone will ask for compensation initially. It comes after CARICOM initiated requests for reparations from Britain, France and the Netherlands in 2013.
Part of the reason is that Britain paid £20m (KY$23m) to British planters in the Caribbean, the equivalent of £200bn (KY$230bn) now, in reparations during emancipation in 1834. No compensation has ever been paid to the descendants of the victims of slavery.
Jamaica was a centre of the slave trade, with the Spanish, then the British, forcibly transporting Africans to work on plantations of sugar cane, bananas and other crops that created fortunes for many of their owners.
Besides Britain, other European nations involved in the transatlantic slave trade, were the Portuguese, Spanish, French, Dutch, and the Danish.