Prime Minister (PM) David Cameron has recently visited Jamaica – his first time since being in Number 10. Whilst in the Caribbean, Mr Cameron ruled out making reparations for the UK’s role in the slave trade and urged Caribbean countries to “move on”.
The Tory leader sparked outrage amongst the Caribbean community because of his “seeming ignorance to the obvious sensitivities” a twitter user wrote. Mr Cameron had come under pressure from the campaigners in Jamaica to apologise for the part that Britain played.
Whilst he acknowledged that “these wounds run very deep”, the PM said in a speech to MPs in Jamaica that “we can move on from this painful legacy and continue to build for the future”.
In what sparked further debate, Mr Cameron also announced plans to spend £25million on building a new Jamaican prison and a £300million development package for the Caribbean which will provide grants for infrastructure projects.
Jamaica’s PM Portia Simpson acknowledges the sensitivities around the reparations and Britain, and that the Caribbean island is trying “to engage with the UK on the matter”.
As Mr Cameron spoke to the MPs, a group of protesters gathered outside parliament with placards reading “reparations now”.
Whilst he is keen on sending criminals back to Jamaica to serve their sentences on the island instead of here in the UK, Jamaicans want to talk about the wrongs of Britain’s past.
There has been no apology from Mr Cameron even though he accepts the impact slavery had on Caribbeans.
The UK PM wanted this visit to be about the future, but the Jamaicans definitely can’t forget the past without any absolute atonement is made.
TNT News Yasin Chinembiri