Slavery loan wasn’t fully repaid by Britain until 2015 – CARICOM Reparations Chair

 

A loan that was taken by the British Government to pay slave owners for the abolition of slavery in 1834 was not fully repaid until 2015. This disclosure was made by Vice-Chancellor of The UWI and Chair of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, Sir Hilary Beckles at a press conference hosted at the University of the West Indies on Wednesday morning.

The purpose of the press conference – held at the Centre for Reparation Research (CRR) – was to confront claims by the British Government’s Treasury posted via a #FridayFact  on its official Twitter channel on Friday, February 9, 2018. The tweet, which was shared with the HM Treasury’s 318,000 followers, read: “Millions of you helped end the slave trade through your taxes”.

Although it was subsequently deleted, the tweet triggered reactions by various interest groups, and captured the attention of the British media and the CRR at The UWI.

The Commission Chair noted that Britain had argued against reparations saying they could not apologise or provide compensation for slavery and the slave trade because it was not illegal at the time and it also took place a long time ago. (more…)

STATEMENT ON ENSLAVEMENT OF AFRICAN MIGRANTS IN LIBYA

Community-Council_Jan_

The Community Council of Ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), at its first sitting of 2018, expressed concern at the reports of the dehumanizing situation of African migrants in Libya being auctioned into slavery by criminal elements.

Ministers joined in solidarity with the statements made by African and European leaders at the 5th African Union-European Union Summit on 29-30 November 2017 calling for “an immediate end of these criminal practices” and with that of the United Nations Security Council on 7 December 2017 condemning “such actions as heinous abuses of human rights”.

Ministers also welcomed the statement by the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord of Libya denouncing “slavery and human trafficking” and committing to take action against the reported crimes.

Given the history, lessons and effects of slavery, the Council underscored the need to condemn this gross violation of human rights. As stated in 2007 by then Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, on the occasion of the Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, slavery should “never again be experienced in old or new forms”.

Vice Chancellor calls for reparation payment to descendants of slaves

“Britain needs to be brought to the table to discuss the process of reparation, and if we can take this conversation to the higher level and make these demands… then these should become the basis of a summit.” – Professor Hilary Beckles
Vice Chancellor, University of the West Indies, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, has renewed the call for reparations valuing £76 billion be paid to the descendants of enslaved people of the Caribbean by former European slave-trading nation, Britain.

“The £20 million that they paid to the slave owners should have been paid to the enslaved. We have to make a claim to that money. We have an entitlement to that £20 million that was paid in 1834 (which) today values £76 billion,” he said.

Professor Beckles made the call while speaking on the topic ‘Faked Emancipation, Insincere Independence, Reparatory Justice: A 21st Century Paradigm for Economic Growth’ at a symposium held at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge, University of the West Indies, on October 11.

The Professor, who is also Chair of the CARICOM Reparation Commission, further suggested that the Caribbean’s bilateral debt should be offset against the £76 billion.

Read more at: Jamaica Information Service 

On Day of Remembrance, UN says history of slave trade can help combat social injustice

 

Shackles used to bind slaves. Photo by Mark Garten via UN
Shackles used to bind slaves. Photo by Mark Garten via UN

23 August 2017 – Remembering the universal demand for freedom that led to the 1791 insurrection by slaves in what is now Haiti, the head of the United Nations cultural and educational agency today marked the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition by underscoring the importance of teaching this history to young people.

“We are counting on the teaching of this history to place tomorrow’s citizens on the path to peace and dignity,” said Irina Bokova, in a message to mark the Day, which is observed annually on 23 August.

Ms. Bokova is the Director-General of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which has played a leading role within the UN system in fostering understanding and recognition of the slave trade.

“Everyone must know the scale of the crime of the slave trade, the millions of lives broken and the impact on the fate of continents up to this very day. Everyone must be fully informed of the struggle that led to its abolition, so that together we can build societies that are fairer, and thus freer,” the senior UN official said.

Read more at: United Nations

In emotional service, Jesuits and Georgetown repent for slave trading

“We express our solemn contrition for our participation in slavery, and the benefit our institution received. We cannot hide from this truth, bury this truth, ignore this truth. Slavery remains the original evil in our republic, an evil that our university was complicit in.” – President, Georgetown University, John DeGioia
(CNN) There is wide gulf, Frederick Douglass wrote in 1845, between Christianity proper and the “slaveholding religion of this land.” One is “good, pure and holy,” the other corrupt and wicked, the “climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds.”

“We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries and cradle-plunderers for church members,” Douglass wrote in “Life of an American Slave.”

For Douglass, as for other African-Americans, the sin of slavery was intolerable; the complicity of Christians unforgivable.

On both counts, the Jesuit order, one of the Catholic Church’s most powerful group of priests, (Pope Francis is a member) was guilty. In the United States and elsewhere, the Society of Jesus owned and sold slaves.

 

Read more at: CNN