Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Barbados Prime Minister Voices $4.9 Trillion in Reparations Owed to Country for Slavery | WATCH

Mia Mottley, Barbados's prime minister, speaks during a high-level segment on day three of the COP28 climate conference at Expo City in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. More than 70,000 politicians, diplomats, campaigners, financiers and business leaders will fly to Dubai to talk about arresting the world's slide toward environmental catastrophe. Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mia Mottley, Barbados’s prime minister –  via Getty Images

*Reparations for Barbados are long overdue, according to the country’s Prime Minister, Mia Mottley. Speaking during a lecture at the London School of Economics, the national leader mentioned that $4.9 trillion in reparations is owed to Barbados for slavery.

“We’re not expecting that the reparatory damages will be paid in a year, or two, or five because the extraction of wealth and the damages took place over centuries. But we are demanding that we be seen and that we are heard,” Mottley said on Dec. 6.

Mottley’s comments come after she met with British Foreign Minister David Cameron on Dec. 5, BET via the British newspaper The Independent reports.

Although she kept mum on whether she asked Cameron about a reparations payment to Barbados, Mottley did reveal she expected “the foreign secretary will take his lead from his majesty.”

Mottley’s recent comments mark the latest development in the long-running debate over reparations. The issue has been a source of debate domestically in the United States as well as internationally in various countries, with little progress made in finding a resolution.

In June 2022, King Charles III garnered headlines upon expressing an openness to discuss Britain’s role in the transatlantic slave trade. In his eyes, “time has come” for that conversation.

“I cannot describe the depths of my personal sorrow at the suffering of so many, as I continue to deepen my own understanding of slavery’s enduring impact,” the then Prince of Wales stated during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, CNN reported.

The Commonwealth needs to “find new ways to acknowledge our past,” Charles added. “Quite simply, this is a conversation whose time has come.”

Despite the king earning praise from Mottley, “for having the courage to recognize this is a conversation that the time has come to have, neither Charles nor the U.K. government has apologized for its role in the slave trade.

According to the BBC, efforts to make a move towards reparations were halted in April when British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak dismissed a Parliament member’s call to apologize and commit to reparatory justice.

“No,” Sunak responded, adding, “trying to unpick our history is not the right way forward.”

For her part, Mottley is known for being a leading voice in the African Diaspora reparations movement. As such, she has brought the issue to the mainstream.

Putting weight on her argument for reparations from the UK, Mottley stated the country owes $24 trillion in reparations to 14 countries affected by British slavery. According to a study Mottley referenced that calculated how much the United Kingdom and other European countries owe in reparations, it found the following:

Spain owes $17.1 trillion
France owes $9.2 trillion
The Netherlands owes $4.86 trillion.

“These numbers, if taken out of context, can appear to be staggering,” she explained. “But in relation to the total wealth accumulated over a period of time, the numbers are actually minuscule.”

Reuters notes that Barbados was first occupied by English settlers in 1627 under British control. During that time, the settlers developed a sugar plantation economy. Although the UK abolished slavery in 1834, the island remained a colony until it gained its independence in 1966.

In November, African and Caribbean nations agreed to establish a Global Reparations Fund, to redress great wealth accumulated by Europeans and the ongoing consequences for their descendants, BET mentioned. The nations are currently united in demanding compensation from countries that have benefitted from slavery and colonialism.

MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: Barbados Cuts Ties to Queen Elizabeth & Becomes A Republic + Rihanna Accorded National Hero Status

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