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Money's Not Everything: Another group of Windward Road Primary Students Say Reparations Not Necessary

Published:Wednesday | September 30, 2015 | 9:00 AM

The latest National Education Inspectorate (NEI) report indicates a high level of awareness of national issues by Jamaican students. This was proved true when a Gleaner team visited the Windward Road Primary School and spoke to grade six students about the UK Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to the island.

The seven students - Anthony Burton, Ricardo Spence, Jahjneil Goulbourne, Denae Henry, Sharissa Bowen, Brianna Loudel, and Justin Hoilette - generally had a high opinion of Cameron, noting that he is an admirable leader.

The students were all able to reel off facts about Cameron's political career and offered their views on his leadership as prime minister.

"He seems to be a good leader and I think this is why his party was reelected in the recent election in the UK. I think he is a good person and a good prime minister," Denae said.

When the conversation turned to the issue of slavery and reparations, it was Sharissa who took the lead, arguing that Britain should not pay reparations to Jamaica, but that Cameron should apologise for slavery.

NOT CAMERON'S FAULT

"First thing, money is not all. Everything is not about money. I think that Britain should not pay reparations to Jamaica because slavery was carried out by the ancestors, and the people living in England now really didn't have anything to do with it," she said.

According to Sharissa: "When we say he must pay us back, we don't mean by giving us money, but that he must apologise for what his ancestors have done to us. It's not David Cameron's fault; it's his ancestors' fault."

This view was echoed by all but one of the other students.

"I think he is coming to Jamaica to make amends for his ancestors' mistake ... . The woman on the radio said he should make reparations, but I don't think he should because it's other Africans' fault why we came here. The Africans were the ones who rounded up other Africans to put them on the ships," Denae said.

Anthony, Ricardo, Brianna, and Justin pointed out that the blame for slavery cannot be laid at Cameron's feet, given that he was not around during that time.

The only dissenting voice, in the person of Jahjneil Goulbourne, said: "I think they should pay us back because whether or not he was born, all humans are equal, and the black man was not treated fairly; we were treated as animals."