Britain owes Caribbean nations £205 billion in slavery reparations, says Cambridge academic

Rev Dr Michael Banner's book, Britain's Slavery Debt: Reparations Now!, estimates Britain owes over £200 billion to Caribbean nations, based on enslaver compensation claims post-abolition.

The following article is republished from The Voice and was written on May 23, 2024 by Sinai Fleary.

People calling for slavery reparations, protest outside the entrance of the British High Commission during the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Kingston, Jamaica in March, 2022 (Pic: Getty)

A LEADING Cambridge academic has said that the United Kingdom owes the Caribbean £205 billion in reparations for slavery.

Rev Dr Michael Banner described Britain as once being “the leading slaving nation in the world” and insists descendants of the enslaved should receive compensation.

In his new book, Britain’s Slavery Debt: Reparations Now! Banner has calculated that Britain owes over £200 billion to Caribbean nations, basing the figure on compensation claims made by enslavers when slavery was abolished.


Dr Banner said the Scottish Government should “show leadership” and start to repay the £20.5 billion share he says the country owes.

He told The Herald on Sunday: “It’s well-known Scots played an outsized part in growing and sustaining the British empire, and Glasgow was in particular closely tied up with Caribbean trade.

“Scotland now has an opportunity to show leadership once again on the side of right, by recognising the compelling case for making reparations to the nations and people of the Caribbean.”

He added: “The British government has consistently failed to face up to this responsibility. Scotland can show the way.”

In July last year, a landmark report said Britain owes a staggering £18.6 trillion in reparations – over five times the country’s annual gross domestic product.

The calculation made in the The Brattle Report, calculated money owed to the Caribbean and the Americas.

The report was written by academics for prestigious University of the West Indies (UWI).

Growing reparations calls

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak rejected the idea of paying reparations, when questioned by Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy in a session of Prime Minister’s Questions, last year.

In March, the Church of England announced a £100 million fund aimed at addressed the church’s role in the Transatlantic slave trade.

St Kitts and Nevis announced in February, plans to discuss slavery reparations with a British pub giant over its historical links to the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Officials in the Caribbean twin-island nation have arranged meetings with Greene King – which is Britain’s leading pub company and brewer.

Benjamin Greene – who started the company in 1799 – owned 231 people in St Kitts during slavery.

Greene also owned a plantation in Montserrat and was compensated around £500,000 in today’s money when slavery was abolished in 1833.

The Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM), 10-point Reparations Plan has been referenced as a framework for justice, by key campaigners.

It includes a full formal apology, funding for repatriation to Africa, debt cancellation, education programmes, the return of cultural heritage and artefacts and other programmes and compensation.


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