Caribbean Community governments said this week that new research has shown that several European nations like Sweden, Switzerland and Russia, which were not previously associated with the TransAtlantic slave trade were in fact participants and will be included in any lawsuits or demands for reparatory payments going forward.
The Caribbean Reparations Commission (CRC) said the latest research has shown a large number of European countries raped Africa of its people and turned them into slaves in the Caribbean and Americas. The result is that letters for reparations payments will also be sent to Sweden, Russia, Norway, Germany and modern day Latvia.
These would be in addition to similar demand documents that have already been sent to Britain, France, Spain, The Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark and others. CRC spokesman Eric Phillips said that The Netherlands is the country which “appears to be more open than the others to talking about the situation while Britain has outrightly refused to engage in any serious discussion. The others have been a bit non committal but have mostly replied to our demand letters. We want to have a summit with Europe to discuss development issues as slavery was about underdevelopment.”
The commission was appointed back in 2013 and has been compiling some amazing data about the slave trade in the past six years. Barbados is the lead country coordinating the work of the commission.
The commission said after a meeting in Jamaica earlier this week that the latest available research showed that there were an astonishing 36,000 voyages “between Africa and the Americas,” noting that the slave trade “reinforces the fact that the trafficking was a global enterprise.”
Caribbean government have long hired the British law firm of Leigh Day to represent its case for reparation payments for the descendants of slavery in large part because that same firm had forced Britain to pay millions in compensation for slaughtering Kenyan tribesmen during the colonial era.
The research found that at least 12.5 million Africans “were captured and transported with a death rate of about 14 percent per voyage. Children as young as a year old and adults up to their late 70s were brought to work sugar, coffee and other plantations in the region the CRC said.
The commission said that the latest findings strengthens the case of governments against complicit European states and will help it hold them accountable and aware of their responsibility “in ways they would never before have confronted.”
In previous missives about the commission’s work, officials have made links between an epidemic of chronic diseases like hypertension, heart diseases, strokes and diabetes directly to the stress of slavery, poor diet and abysmal living conditions that started during capture and on slave ships.
Additionally, several American universities including Harvard have benefited from the proceeds of slavery and are also being engaged in discussions about some form of reparatory payments.
The body said that it has been able to compile data on an additional 1,000 voyages in the past year. “We are coming across more and more information as we continue our research, as we do more work,” said Phillips.
Britain has tried to indirectly address this issue by increasing its grant aid disbursements to the region but has steadfastly refused to engage in direct talks, fearing it might well be overwhelmed by the preponderance of evidence the CRC has about its role in slavery. Barclays Bank and others are living beneficiaries of the slave trade and there are thousands of documents showing that Britain had paid out millions to slave owners for loss of property in the West Indies after slavery was officially abolished.