KINGSTON, Jamaica – A study on the quantification of reparations for Transatlantic Chattel Slavery (TCS) in the Americas and the Caribbean has found that trillions of dollars are owed to these countries as a result of the slave trade.
The report was launched here on Thursday identifying at least 31 countries where reparations are due as a result of the slave trade that was abolished in 1838.
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Former honorary president of the American Society of International Law and the project’s initiator, Justice Patrick Robinson, speaking at the launch of the report at the Mona campus The University of the West Indies (UWI) said that Britain is required to pay 14 countries a sum of US$24 trillion.
The report notes to assess the reparations that are due, it must be established that the injuries or harm suffered by the enslaved are the consequence of wrongful conduct by those who carried out TCS.
The economic estimations were made in the context of the harms experienced during the enslavement and post-enslavement periods. The calculations in the report were done by a group of US economists from The Brattle Group, guided by a team of lawyers, historians, and history students.
Robinson said that for Spain the amount owed is estimated at US$17 trillion and the United States is required to pay approximately US$26 trillion for its practice of TCS from 1776 to 1865, while France is required to pay approximately nine trillion US dollars and Portugal US$20 trillion to Brazil, which is also required to pay about four trillion dollars in respect to its practice of TCS in Brazil from 1822 to 1888.
The amount for The Netherlands is estimated at five trillion dollars of which three trillion should be paid to Suriname and an estimated $52 billion to Guyana.
Robinson said that the aggregate sum of reparations to be paid by all former slave-owning states totals US$107.8 trillion.
The report stated that the total harm estimated from enslavement is between US$100 trillion and US$131 trillion and Robinson said the committee spent an extended period deliberating on whether the figures should be reduced but later agreed that it should remain on the basis of the figures reflecting the enormity of the unlawful practices of TCS.
“Nonetheless, it decided to recommend to countries entitled to reparations that they consider, in consultation with the former slave-owning countries, that reparations may be paid over a 10-year period, a 15-year period, a 20-year period, or a 25-year period,” he said, adding that such an arrangement should be secured through a binding agreement.
Robinson acknowledges that the report does not address the earnings of plantation owners, banks, insurance companies, and other entities that profit from TCS as the group was still working to access the relevant data to sort out the sum relating to this. (CMC)