Britain will spend £25 million on a new prison in Jamaica so hundreds of foreign criminals can be sent home to the Caribbean to serve their sentences, the Prime Minister said.
Speaking ahead of his trip to the Caribbean, a Downing Street spokesperson said the government “abhorred” slavery, but it did not believe that financial reparations were the right approach.
Cameron will address a joint sitting of the Jamaican Parliament and hold talks with Jamaican Prime Minister Simpson Miller later Wednesday after attending a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of soldiers of World Wars I and II at the National Heroes Park.
Cameron did not address the reparations issue when he responded to Simpson-Miller’s comment.
General Sir James Duff, Cameron’s own ancestor, was an enslaver who grew wealthy on income from his Jamaican forced labor camp. But many Jamaicans actually want him to apologize and talk about reparations for slavery. The cases target Britain for its role in slavery in the English-speaking Caribbean, France for slavery in Haiti and the Netherlands for Suriname, a Caricom member and former Dutch colony on the northeastern edge of South America.
The Jamaican Parliament has approved a motion for the country to seek reparations from Britain.
“We look forward to programme and policy action on the part of both our Governments in the areas discussed”, she said.
“His lineage has been traced and his forefathers were slave-owners and benefited from slavery”, said Samuels. “We were left behind because of racism”, he added.
But Frances Crook from the Howard League for Penal Reform told the BBC that without British support for the running of the new prison, it would “very quickly deteriorate”, meaning the human rights issue would persist. In addition to these direct costs for construction of the facility and the maintenance costs associated with housing the inmates, we also have to recognize the significant socio-economic costs which will be associated with reintegrating the deported Jamaicans back into society after they have served their sentences. By the time the slave trade was abolished in the early 19th Century, slaves in Jamaica outnumbered free settlers by close to 20 to one, and many plantations were rife with abuses.
Mr. Cameron also announced that over the next five years, the United Kingdom will be spending U.S. $9 billion on climate financing, and “I am determined to ensure a few of that money is spent here, helping your country to adapt to this challenge”.
According to Cameron, the fund will provide grants for infrastructure projects like roads and bridges. That is in a sense a form of reparation, though I would be interested to hear what the proposals are and what the discussions are’.