Opposition Member of Parliament Mike Henry has blasted Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller for saying that Jamaica would not be seeking reparations for slavery from Britain.
"I am very saddened that in this, our 50th year of anniversary, because of the visit of a Prince Harry, who may be coming here to show that we should not run faster than them, the prime minister has taken this stance," Henry told The Gleaner yesterday.
On Monday, Simpson Miller said she would not join the calls for the payment of reparations.
"Whether Britain would be able to pay compensation to the population ... of African descent, I don't know. I have heard the calls, I am not making any call on the British government about whether they pay or give us compensation," the prime minister had said.
However, Henry said the prime minister spoke out of turn.
Noting that the late Professor Barry Chevannes had conducted consultation, on behalf of the Parliament, with the people of Jamaica about their feelings on reparation, Henry has urged Simpson Miller to be guided by the study.
Still calling for compensation
"The prime minister cannot speak for me on my private member's motion. She should not seek to pre-empt a vote that I am asking for," Henry said, pointing to a motion he had brought to Parliament on reparations.
In pressing his claim, Henry said: "Great Britain paid the slave owners of the Caribbean and Jamaica £200 million. I am saying, 'Pay the same amount now, compounded over the period of slavery and if, indeed, you say you have granted to us any issue that you think is of value - whether it be jurisprudence or education - deduct that', but reparation is a demand that I intend to pursue."
Although Henry has been a champion for the payment of reparation, there does not exist any motion on the Order Paper in Parliament for a debate on reparation.