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No Reparations - British Minister with responsibility for the Caribbean

Published:Thursday | November 7, 2013 | 7:47 AM

The new British Minister with responsibility for the Caribbean, Mark Simmonds, has dampened the hopes of local reparation agitators clamouring for compensation for slavery.

Simmonds said instead of focusing on reparations, the United Kingdom is keen on assisting Jamaica revitalise its economic base.

He said while his country decried the acts of slavery past and present, he could not countenance compensation for human atrocities committed two centuries ago.

"Clearly slavery was abhorrent, slavery still is abhorrent and we all need to work together to ensure that we eradicate it in totality wherever it exists" said Simmonds.

"Do I think that we are in a position where we can financially to offer compensation for events that happened two, three hundred years ago? No I don't and I think we've got to focus on where our commonalities agree and I think that is eradicating slavery as it exists today, also building on the importance of driving the economy and economic development and economic growth."

Simmonds emphasised that the United Kingdom’s rejection of the scourge was reflected in its relentless lobby for the framework set up by the United Nation to eradicate modern day slavery.

Meanwhile, he had more positive words for Jamaica on the proposed logistics hub and other economic-oriented endeavours.

He said he thought the UK could assist the government to diversify the Jamaican economy as that is its particular area of expertise.

Simmonds was speaking at a press conference yesterday during his first trip to the island.


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