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"Press for Reparations!" Lord Gifford urges Jamaicans

Lord Anthony Gifford

Attorney-at-law Lord Anthony Gifford on Thursday urged Jamaicans again to continue pressing the UK Government for reparations for slavery.
 
Lord Gifford contends that, while it might be morally right to bring pressure to bear on businesses and institutions that benefited directly from slavery, it is usually national governments that make reparations.

"When Jewish people demanded reparations for Holocaust, it was the German Government who paid; when Japanese Americans demanded compensation for being interned during the war, it was the United States government which paid; when the Maori people claimed reparations for massacres which happened back in the 80s, it was the government who paid," Lord Gifford highlighted.   

He was speaking during a forum at the Institute of Jamaica to commemorate the 235th anniversary of the Zong Massacre of 1781.
    
In that incident, 133 sick Africans being brought as slaves to Jamaica on a ship were thrown overboard so that the merchant could claim insurance on their loss as cargo.
    
Minister of Culture Olivia Babsy Grange, in her message, read on her behalf at the forum, asserted that the Government was determined to pursue the goals of reparations, as mandated by Parliament in 2007.
    
Lord Gifford, a leading proponent of the reparations movement, believes that, while governments must take the lead, it is only through pressure from the people that success willl be achieved.

"Get moving and push, and push, and just as apartheid crumbled, so reparations will come," he urged.

The reparations initiative is now a regional movement, led by a CARICOM Commission on Reparations, targeting all the European governments that had colonies in the Caribbean.



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