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CARICOM Demands Slave Reparations From The U.K., France and Holland


HAVANA — CARICOM said this weekend that it wants slave reparations from the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands.

Cuba pledged its support Friday to the Caribbean Community’s quest to receive an apology and compensation from European powers for the transatlantic slave trade.

The Caribbean Community or CARICOM, which has 15 states as members, wants reparations from the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands in an initiative it says is based on on diplomacy and engagement, without resorting to confrontation.

“We support the just demand for compensation hoisted by the Member States of the Caribbean Community,” said Ana Silvia Rodriguez, a Cuban ambassador to the United Nations.

“People from the third world still feeling the effects of the inhuman exploitation of people in their homelands and these peoples clearly deserve compensation for the horrendous crimes committed against their ancestors,” said the diplomat during address to CARICOM officials.

Last October, on an official visit to Jamaica, British Prime Minister Cameron acknowledged the “wounds of slavery run very deep” but avoided speaking on the issue of reparation.

Cameron, the first British prime minister to visit Jamaica for the last 14 years, said the slave trade was one “from which history has drawn the bitterest of lessons.”

“Slavery was and is abhorrent in all its forms. It has no place whatsoever in any civilized society, and Britain is proud to have led the way in its abolition,” but offered no compensation.

In late February the chairman of the CARICOM Sub-Committee on Reparations, Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart sent a letter to the British Foreign Office, on behalf of the 15-member countries, for London to formally acknowledge the region’s demands for payment for the transatlantic slave trade.

CARICOM has reportedly given the British office two years to respond to its call, but warned that it is prepared to bring its complaint to the International Court of Justice in The Netherlands.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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