LETTER OF THE DAY - Stop flogging reparation
THE EDITOR, Sir:
It was with great interest that I read the article 'Unmasking slavery's profiteers' (Sunday Gleaner, August 4, 2013. I am expecting the follow-up articles to be most informative and of great historical interest.
AND, that is the point: of "historical interest".
Recently, I have been reading about our beloved country trying to claim reparations from Great Britain for all the horrors and sufferings that resulted from the slave trade.
1) As I understand the law: the 'son' is not responsible for the sins of the father, so WHO exactly is liable for the reparation payments? Is there an actual slave trader, still alive after some 175 years, when the slave trade was deemed illegal?
2) Leviticus 25:44 tells us that it is okay to buy slaves, as long as they are not from your own country, strongly suggesting that the 'trade' in slaves is condoned by God. It is only in more enlightened times that the trade was stopped.
3) Just how far back can we go in getting reparations for the slave trade? Should England sue the Italian government for the slaves exported when the Roman Empire invaded England, some 2,000 years ago?
Or should the Israelis do the same for the slaves taken in the time of our Lord Jesus? There HAS to be a time limit, which I would suggest is the actual lifetime of the last surviving slave trader, buyer or seller, a point in time which is long gone!
4) In the most unlikely event that the government of Great Britain agrees to pay reparations, WHO will benefit most from the money? Certainly not the average Jamaican: after all, the lawyers have 'extracted' their fees for the 'work', and the court fees have been paid: the few pennies left over will do little more than buy a single, celebratory bottle of cheap champagne, shared (if they can find small enough glasses) among all our illustrious MPs.
The whole matter of the 'slave trade' is of great historical interest to us all, but it is now just history: and any thought of reparations is just stupidness, and even if the lawyers got a ruling in their favour, it would be totally unenforceable.
Have we not got more pressing and immediate problems to be solved, and the lawyers better things to expend their intelligence solving for the good of our country?