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…)