Jamaica considers seeking compensation from wealthy British politician for family’s role in slavery

Jamaica is considering whether to seek compensation from a wealthy conservative British politician, for his family’s role in slavery.

According to the BBC, Richard Drax’s ancestors, were reportedly, pioneers of slave trades in the Caribbean about 400 years ago, and were among the earliest English colonists to establish sugar plantations in Barbados and Jamaica.

The case came to the attention of the Jamaica national council on reparations after British newspaper reports suggested the government of Barbados was planning to demand reparations from Mr. Drax.

The MP is facing demands to pay Barbados for harm caused by slavery at an estate his family owned in the country and he met with the country’s Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, this week, to discuss an agreement.

Drax’s family was awarded what is worth today, some $3 million euros when the slave trade was abolished in 1833 and he also inherited the 6 hundred and 17-acre Drax Hall plantation in Barbados in 2017.

It is thought to be the first time a government has urged a family to pay compensation for the role of their forebears in the slave trade.

Now Jamaica’s National Council on Reparations is also examining the case for pressing Mr Drax for damages as a different branch of the Drax family also founded a plantation in Jamaica, in the 17th century.

Director of the centre for reparation research at the university of the west indies, professor Verene Shepherd said men and women “were brutalised in Jamaica” under the Drax name.

She said families who can trace their inheritance to slavery should be held accountable.

Professor shepherd said as Richard Drax’s lineage is connected to his family’s role in slavery, she thinks Jamaica should also join Barbados in pressing a case for reparations.

In the meantime, the national council on reparations, said it will convene a meeting to discuss the case for claiming reparations from Mr. Drax.


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