In a historic move, the nation of Jamaica is set to put together a formal request demanding that Great Britain provide reparations for its role in the transatlantic slave trade. The proposal will focus on Great Britain's role in enslaving Jamaicans to work on plantations to harvest sugar canes and other valuable resources. Altogether, Great Britain's ruthless actions impacted the lives of more than 60,000 enslaved Black people throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Jamaica did not gain its independence from European power until 1962.
"We are hoping for reparatory justice in all forms that one would expect if they are to really ensure that we get justice from injustices to repair the damages that our ancestors experienced," Jamaica's minister of sports, youth and culture Olivia Grange told Reuters.
"Our African ancestors were forcibly removed from their home and suffered unparalleled atrocities in Africa to carry out forced labor to the benefit of the British Empire. Redress is well overdue."
According to Jamaican government official Mike Henry, the nation is seeking nearly $8 billion pounds. The total sum is partially based on the amount of money the European nation paid to slave owners when the country abolished slavery in 1834.
"I am asking for the same amount of money to be paid to the slaves that was paid to the slave owners," Henry explained.
"I am doing this because I have fought against this all my life, against chattel slavery which has dehumanized human life."
The petition for reparations currently awaits approval from Jamaica's National Council on Reparations. If it is approved, it will be sent to Queen Elizabeth II. Thus far, the Royal Family has not provided a public statement regarding the matter.
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