Attorney-at-Law Anselm Clouden has thrown his full support behind the fight for reparatory justice from the major participants in, and beneficiaries of the transatlantic slave trade.
Speaking on the issue in a recent interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper, the seasoned criminal attorney shared the sentiment expressed by many over the years, that the impacts of the institution of slavery on Caribbean states and the native genocide that came along with it have resulted in a legacy of underdevelopment and an historic bundle of wrongs to be righted.
“Throughout the ages of past civilisations there has been precedence where people who have been put through great inhumanity and destruction at the hands of some super power have been given reparations.”, he said.
The attorney pointed to the “brutal extermination of the Jews in Germany during the early 1940’s and whose ancestors have since received reparations.
“Indeed they have received a homeland. The Balfour declaration in 1948 granted to the Jews Israel as a place where they can retreat into safety and they have since established a nation. That’s part of reparation,” he said.
An estimated six (6) million (Jews) were brutally exterminated at the hands of the German Nazis under Adolf Hitler.
According to Clouden, the world reacted the Jewish holocaust by giving them a homeland.
“Over six (6) million, millions of slaves were taken from Africa via the brutal slave trade, where they were tied in these congested vessels, chained right hand to left hand, right foot to left foot.
They had no more room than a man in his coffin. The slave trade journey took months, many died, many were thrown overboard, many ships sunk, they had no escape but to face death,” he said.
“Then there was the brutality of slavery, (black slaves) working and being the property of imperial governments, who had enslaved us as a people throughout the Caribbean,” he added.
Clouden pointed out that “there is no recorded history that speaks to a level of barbarism and brutality as the British slave trade and the English slave trade.”
He noted that the “French had a process of assimilation (while) the British had a system of direct rule, (which he labeled as) barbaric, brutal and inhuman.”
For more than 200 years Britain was at the heart of a lucrative transatlantic trade in millions of enslaved Africans.
An estimated 12.5 million people were transported as slaves from Africa to the Americas and the Caribbean to work in often brutal conditions on plantations from the 16th century until the trade was banned in 1807.
In 1833, Britain emancipated its enslaved people and reportedly raised the equivalent of £17bn in compensation money to be paid to 46,000 British slave-owners for “loss of human property.”
The University College London (UCL) has compiled a database of those compensated.
Among those listed is General Sir James Duff, who it is claimed is a first cousin of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
He was reportedly awarded compensation worth about £3m in today’s currency.
Others who received compensation include the ancestors of novelists George Orwell and Graham Greene, as well as distant relatives of Arts Council chairman, Sir Peter Bazalgette and celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott.
During his two-day visit to Jamaica in September 2015, British Prime Minister, David Cameron offered a token apology for the slave trade but ruled out slavery reparation.
Jamaicans called upon PM Cameron to personally apologise to the people as one of his relatives has indeed received compensation as a result of the emancipation of British slaves.
Attorney Clouden acknowledged that “Jamaica has been the progenitor, the fore-runner in the quest for reparations (and voiced) support for (St. Vincent and the Grenadines), PM Ralph Gonzalves 100 per cent” who reiterated the call for slave reparations during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at UN Headquarters, New York, last September.
Clouden said, “in keeping with the protocol of the exploiter and the exploited, we demand and are entitled to reparation for the inhumanity, the slavery and degrading treatment both psychologically and physically that our people have been subjected to.”
He pointed out that slave descendants “are still suffering from the psychological effects of slavery and direct rule…they have taken the chains from our feet and they have put it on our minds.
“We are not prepared to forget about it,” he declared, noting that “racism has not abated in the countries (that once dominated over black people as slaves).”