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  • asked in Media 3rd Feb '16:

    Is there a growing political desire by the Caribbean Nations to demand compensation from certain European countries; to put to rest their issues with their colonial history?. Do support the logic behind such demands?.

    Emma Lewis replied 15th Feb '16:

    I would not say there is a "growing" desire in Jamaica. However, demands for compensation from some quarters have been persistent and ongoing for years. The issue has been debated in Parliament and has gone to the UK Parliament. One development last year that did exacerbate the issue of reparations was the visit of UK Prime Minister David Cameron to Jamaica, which was not at all well received by the general public (or by me) - as reflected in social media. The "offer" to build a prison in Jamaica to house Jamaican convicts was seen as arrogant, a slap in the face and an insult by many Jamaicans, raising issues of neocolonialism, etc… (I share these general views). The reparations issue did gain some resonance during the visit and in the immediate aftermath, but in the past few months it has not been back on the radar.

    I have come to the conclusion that I do support this - there needs to be some kind of "closure" to use an awful word. I used to think it was a bit superfluous and we need to (In PM Cameron's words) "move on" as it's a "lost cause" - but have changed my mind in the past few years. It would be unbelievably complex and difficult to calculate the amount, but I do feel that at LEAST a symbolic "in kind" gesture (the building of some hospitals and schools, for example) would go a long way towards settling people's minds. NOT a prison! And a full and formal apology in the right forum, which should also be in writing.

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