Following a meeting with British law firm, Leigh, Day & Company over legal representation of Caribbean nations seeking redress from European countries for horrors endured during the 300-yearslong slave trade, the Caricom committee addressing this issue is slated to update the region on the progress of this pursuit.
Signaling an earnest attempt to seek compensation from former slave-trade countries for the atrocities of the period of trans-Atlantic human trafficking, members of Caricom’s reparation committee met with the British law firm yesterday in Jamaica to discuss their position.
The regional reparations executive committee also hosted a preparatory meeting with the law firm after holding a series of its own internal meetings after leaders approved plans to fight Britain, Spain and other European nations for slavery compensation at the July summit in Trinidad and Tobago.
The announcement by the Guyana-based Caribbean trade bloc secretariat said the committee has a mandate to “advance the moral, ethical and legal case for the payment of reparations by the governments of all the former colonial powers, to the nations and people of the Caribbean for native genocide, the trans-Atlantic Slave trade and a radicalized system of chattel slavery.”
Caricom has engaged that British law firm largely because it won international accolades for winning millions in compensation for hundreds of Kenyan Mau Mau tribesmen who were tortured by British soldiers and agents in colonial Kenya.
It has not been stated the amount expected from the former European colonizing nations, but leaders like St. Vincent’s Ralph Gonsalves, have pointed to the fact that Britain had paid out about 22 million British pounds in compensation to planters who lost slaves after abolition. That compensation sum, it was contended, would be an equivalent of about $327.5 billion (£200 billion) today.
At the 34th Conference of the Caricom Heads of Government, it was agreed and encouraged that each Caricom Member State would establish a national reparations committee. Some six countries; Jamaica, Suriname, Barbados, St. Vincent, Belize and Antigua have so far set up committees to support the work of the executive body, while the others are expected to join them in the coming months.
Today’s press conference will be streamed live across the region to update people in the bloc about the latest developments, the announcement said. It will be held at the regional headquarters, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica.