Saturday 1st October 2016                 Change text size:

Britain asked to pay billions of pounds in reparations for slavery by Jamaica

Manacles via Flickr Collectie Stichting Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen

Growing pressure from Jamaican campaigners and politicians for Mr Cameron to discuss the issue of reparations is threatening to overshadow his two-day visit to the country.

Prime Minster of Jamaica, Portia Simpson-Miller said: “I brought to the Prime Minister’s attention the issue of reparations, indicating that Jamaica is involved in a process under the auspices of the Caribbean Community to engage the UK on the matter while we are aware of the obvious sensitivities involved,”

Member of the National Commission on Reparations, Bert Samuels said: “His [Cameron’s] lineage has been traced and his forefathers were slave-owners and benefited from slavery… Therefore he needs to atone, to apologise personally and on behalf of his country.”

In an headline-grabbing link similar to The Sunday Express claim that Jeremy Corbyn’s great great grandfather mismanaged a Victorian workhouse, a link between Mr Cameron’s family and slavery has resurfaced. Army officer and Member of Parliament for Banffshire General Sir James Duff (1752–1839), is Mr Cameron’s first cousin six times removed on his father’s side. According to records Duff was compensated when he forfeited 202 slaves on the Grange Sugar Estate in Jamaica – equal to more than £3m today – upon abolition.

A Number 10 spokesman said of the Prime Minister’s meeting with Simpson Miller: “He [Cameron] noted that the Government abhorred slavery and indeed had passed the Modern Slavery Act [2015] to tackle human trafficking today.

“He reiterated the long-standing position of the United Kingdom that we do not believe reparations is the right approach. The Prime Minister underlined that he wanted to focus on the future and how the United Kingdom could help to spur economic growth across Jamaica.”

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