KINGSTON – A Caribbean commission is expanding the number of former colonial powers it says should provide some form of reparations for the lingering regional impact of the Atlantic slave trade.
At a Tuesday news conference at the Jamaica campus of the University of the West Indies, the Caribbean Community Reparations Commission identified eight European nations that should work with regional governments to “address the living legacies of these crimes.”
A British law firm hired by Caribbean governments seeking reparations initially targeted Britain, France and the Netherlands. But the Caribbean Community reparations panel, which is acting as an advisory group for regional governments, added the names of Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
“Of course, when we delve deeper into the history, we find that most of the European nations, including those in Southern Europe and Central Europe, were also involved in this,” commission chief Hilary Beckles said, adding that the group is also gathering information on countries such as Switzerland and Russia.
Beckles, who has written several books on the history of Caribbean slavery, said the commission is preparing to submit its first report to heads of governments, who will ultimately decide how to approach the European nations.
Caricom, as the group is known, announced in July that it intended to seek reparations for slavery and the genocide of native peoples and created the regional reparations commission to press the issue.
The Caribbean governments have hired the British law firm of Leigh Day.