David Cameron: “Jamaica should move on from the awful legacy of slavery” – Without tackling the issues slavery left in it’s wake? I think not

I read the Guardian article detailing Cameron’s brief engagement of the conversation regarding the repayment of reparations to Jamaica for Britain’s part in the African slave trade. Cameron, when finally addressing the issue on his trip to Jamaica earlier this week, advised Jamaica should “move on from the awful legacy of slavery”.

 Wait… what?

At this point I felt myself giving the whole of  the British government and all of British society for that matter a significant side eye.

Cameron in his speech stated:

“That the Caribbean has emerged from the long shadow it cast is testament to the resilience and spirit of its people. I acknowledge that these wounds run very deep indeed. But I do hope that, as friends who have gone through so much together since those darkest of times, we can move on from this painful legacy and continue to build for the future.”

My problem with it all

No British prime minister has visited Jamaica in the past 14 years. However when one finally decides to drop by, it is to discuss building Jamaican prisons to deport Jamaican prisoners residing in British prisons that currently cannot be deported. This is due to the state of Jamaica’s prisons at present, and the human rights laws that Britain would breach if it were to send Jamaican prisoners back to incarceration in their birthplace at this time.

So in short, the visit was regarding alleviating  the strain on the British prison system. The British government have done the calculations and realised that it is cheaper to build a prison in Jamaica than it is to build more prisons in Britain, (and of course, where would they find the space for more prisons here? With all those pesky immigrants  taking over the UK and what not)

Considering the fact that Britain is only in touch with Jamaica when it affords them some benefit; Am I wrong in questioning the authenticity of this ‘friendship’ Cameron speaks of?

David Cameron’s guard of honour welcome after he landed in Jamaica earlier this week.

 Personal responsibility and it’s discontents

Poverty has ripped through Jamaica ever since it was granted it’s destitution, or as it is more popularly termed, it’s ‘independence’  from British colony in 1962 and the economy has failed to progress ever since.  Jamaica struggles with many aspects of society including education, healthcare and infrastructure, and David Cameron shows up to speak about prisons?

Cameron’s  ‘let’s move on’ perspective shows that there is no humanitarian hand in the way Britain are tackling the reparation conversation, only age-old western economic preservation and greed.

Cameron focused his  discourse on the efforts Britain had put forth to bring Slavery to an end, placing Britain as the lesser of two evils with the US, who did not abolish the slave trade until 1865, 58 years after Britain. A point that Britain evidently feel is a redeeming factor.

Cameron’s speech on this issue was at best disingenuous and at worst, evasive and condescending.

Slavery and it’s economic consequences are still impacting Jamaican life in the present day

Britain’s first slave expedition was carried out by John Hawkins of Plymouth, Devon in 1562. Hawkins sailed to Africa and kidnapped approximately 400 African people for free labour in the west Indies. From official beginning to end, the slave trade spanned a total of  278 years. No compensation. And more to the point, no apology.

Reparations to repair a nation?

Here’s an idea. Firstly, why doesn’t Britain relieve all Afro-Carribean citizens living in Britain of  income tax for the next  278 years? The same amount of time as their involvement in the trade of African slaves. They should also foot the bill for re-building the Jamaican economy. In agreement with Upinthear.com, I  believe Britain should in addition begin the process of writing off Jamaica’s enormous national debt.

Britain has a way of selling it’s own supremacy as equality. Pushing the notion that we are all so far removed for slavery and it’s effects, that slavery itself no longer has any relevance. This is not true, as it is clear to see that descendants of African slaves worldwide are still at a significant economic disadvantage.

If we are  to truly move on from slavery, then we need to remedy it’s consequences. If Cameron’s obvious dismissal of this issue does not encourage and drive all those who had previously signed the contract of post-racialism to opt out of said contract and speak up, then nothing will.



6 thoughts on “David Cameron: “Jamaica should move on from the awful legacy of slavery” – Without tackling the issues slavery left in it’s wake? I think not

  1. Pingback: “Bad moral attitudes” in black British community to blame for black riots in 1980’s, states MP Oliver Letwin – BlackBritishConcerned

  2. Killa Cam’s speciality is being disingenuous and evasive, that observation was spot on. I personally feel like he would like nothing more that to slip out of No.10 and into the shady echelons of business.

    I weren’t mad at what he said, I read into what he was trying to say, his words were unconvincing as he more than anybody knows that reparations would cripple British and their coloniser counterparts economies, tipping the scales and bringing them all to their knees. The western powers do not produce much, have no natural resources, and their economies are pretty much built on nothing more than a deck of illusion, exploitation of former colonies, and debt.

    If Britain stood before them and took accountability and ownership over the transatlantic holocust, they’d set themselves up on a road to repay a debt that they cannot possibly afford to repay. Check the tactics, sweeping stuff beneath the rug with statements like “that happened hundreds of years ago” -well that’s when it began but it’s just over a hundred years and in which they’ve erased the origins of our great existence and achievements forcing us to be and feel destitute, or they say let’s move on and forget about like they could ever say that to the millions who died in concentration camps. They even go so far as to describe the atrocity as ‘trade’ rather than what it was.

    I feel like it’s all a diversion tactic to avoid them putting themselves in a condition where they’d have to admit that they are not the great empire, financial, and ‘moral’ power that have the perception of being.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Spot on- After accountability comes responsibility. This is a conversation I am sure British politics cannot wait to see settle like dust between the pages of library bound books, just as their thievery and exploitation has for so long. The current British discourse of disdain for immigrants presented under the guise of British cultural preservation was bound to awaken the beast of hypocrisy someday, given the fact that Britain has stolen anything that ever brought them affluence from other cultures, including food, labour and land.

      P.S. LOOOOOL at ‘killa Cam’


    2. KD

      Agreed. Cameron is a ‘deficit denier’ (and therefor a hypocrite since he uses those words all the time when doing part politics). He is denying the debt that Britain owes to the Caribbean, Africa, and the world. What we need is our own chancellor to carry out some ‘cuts’. Austerity measures are needed to pay back the debt. We can start with Prime Ministers wages and parliamentary benefits. Cut the costs of looking after Royalty (who have their own benefit system paid by the tax payer), and stop subsidies and grants to British companies that “compete” with African and Caribbean businesses on their own land, etc., etc.


  3. Iman

    I agree, I agree, & I agree!!
    Britain sits on its colonial built moral high ground while smoothly sliding away from its own transgressions and the effects thereof. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment, it is apparent that Britain is not ready to face up and bear the cross they have allowed the USA to bear alone for so long when it comes to accepting responsibility for their colonial past. It is time the uncomfortable conversations began.


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