Sun | Jun 20, 2021

Letter of the Day: Shall we demand reparation from Maroons, too?

Published:Friday | October 9, 2015 | 12:00 AM


The recent visit by British Prime Minister David Cameron to Jamaica has once again ignited the issue of reparation in certain quarters.

The proponents of reparation seem to have as the basic premise of their argument the fact that Britain, through the exploits of slavery, and by extension, our natural resources, has almost forever set us back as nation in terms of our own socio-economic development.

Regrettably, some of us tend to forget that small matter of our own ancestors from the West Coast of Africa facilitating the slave trade by capturing millions of our ancestral brothers, sisters and children in exchange for goods of all sorts from those from whom we now seek reparation.

Have there been any calls by us for reparation to be made of the existing African states that participated in the slave trade or indeed other European states such as Portugal, Spain, France and the Netherlands, which were also participants in the proliferation of the slave trade?

Since we are at it, why not also call on our own Maroons to give an account as to the role they played in recapturing those slaves who ran away from the plantation and the handing of them back over to their slave masters?

We should not be hypocritical in our argument and I make bold to say that the British prime minister may well be justified in telling us to move on.

A major malady that affects Third World countries like Jamaica is a fixation on the past and a tendency to play the blame game. It is indeed even now typical of how our political parties practise their craft.

The concentration on seeking to expand and grow our economy in the midst of it all seems irrelevant. Instead, as a nation, some of us seem to be content with the British once again sending our black brothers in shackles back to our shores, but this time, instead of construction of plantation houses with appropriate slave quarters, it is the construction of prisons.

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Have we no shame?