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Slavery was abhorrent but let's move on, says Cameron, avoids reparation issue

Published:Wednesday | September 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller introduces Opposition Leader Andrew Holness to David Cameron, Prime Minister of Britain on his arrival to the island yesterday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has described as abhorrent slavery, which was practiced by his ancestors.

Addressing a joint sitting of Parliament this morning, Cameron said slavery was the most painful period of history.

“It had no part in any civilised society,” he said.

But Cameron said it was time to move on from this painful history, noting that Britain was pleased to have brought an end to slavery.

Cameron, however, stayed away from the matter of reparation or compensation for slavery.

At the same time, he said his visit to Jamaica should demonstrate his “absolutely unquestionable” commitment to Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Earlier, he said his £300 million infrastructure grant to the Caribbean was a “down payment” for Britain’s indebtedness to the region.

According to Cameron, Jamaica and the other countries of the region were integral in re-building the United Kingdom after the World Wars.

Before Cameron spoke, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Opposition Leader addressed the Parliament.

Simpson Miller elicited loud applause when she said Jamaica has committed to a spirit of respect and mutual understanding in engaging the United Kingdom on reparation.

Meanwhile Holness also said there was a clear need for Britain to “right the wrongs” it has done.