Photo: The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange (right) Judge Patrick Robinson of the International Court of Justice (left)

The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has received a copy of a paper that quantifies reparations for transatlantic chattel slavery.

The paper, which estimates that the United Kingdom owes Jamaica US$9.5 trillion in reparations, was presented to Minister Grange by Judge Patrick Robinson of the International Court of Justice. 

Judge Robinson wrote the introduction to the paper titled ‘Report on Reparations for Transatlantic Chattel Slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean’ which was produced by the international economics consulting firm, Brattle.

The report also estimates that Spain owes Jamaica US$103 billion for reparations.

In his meeting with Minister Grange, Permanent Secretary, DeanRoy Bernard, and members of the National Council on Reparation on Wednesday (today), Judge Robinson said the Brattle report was historic “because for the first time there is available a scientific and well-argued quantification of the reparations that are due in respect of the universe… that is, in all the countries in which it was carried out in the Caribbean, Central America, South America and North America.  The report determines the reparations that are due in respect of over 30 states and overseas territories in which transatlantic chattel slavery was carried out.”

The report assesses reparations for harm done during the period when chattel slavery was carried out and for continuing harm thereafter.

“The total sum of reparations to be paid by all former slave holding states in respect of the period of enslavement is about US$107 trillion.  In respect of the post enslavement period, the total sum to be paid is about US$22 trillion, making a grand total of about US$130 trillion,” said Judge Robinson.

He said that the figures were high, but appropriate:

“We spent a long time considering the sums.  What should we do with these sums?  People will laugh at us when we tell them that the United Kingdom must pay US$24 trillion and US$9.5 trillion in respect of Jamaica, but ultimately, ladies and gentlemen, we decided that the figures should not be changed because they accurately reflect the enormity of the grotesque and unlawful practice of transatlantic chattel slavery. 

“The high figures, in my view, constitute a plain, unvarnished statement of the grossness of the practice of transatlantic chattel slavery. Nonetheless, we decided to recommend to countries entitled to reparations that they consider in consultation with former slaveholding countries, the payment of reparations over a ten year period, a 15 year period, a 20 year period, or a 25 year period.”

Minister Grange thanked Judge Robinson for discussing the quantification of reparations and asked the National Council on Reparation to study the report to see how it can inform the Roadmap to Reparation.

“What direction do we want to go? What do I take to Cabinet as your advice?” Minister Grange asked members of the Council as she asked them to accelerate the preparation of the Roadmap to Reparation.