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MONTEGO BAY,Jamaica – A Report entitled “The Report on Reparation for Transatlantic Chattel Slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean” (TCS), which for the first time quantifies the reparations due to the descendants of enslaved persons who suffered death and untold hardships as a result of chattel slavery right across the Americas and the Caribbean, is expected to be launched on Thursday June 8, 2023 at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters in Jamaica.
The Report will be introduced by H.E. Judge Patrick Robinson, a Former Honorary President of the American Society of International Law and a current member of the International Court of Justice, and was sponsored by the American Society of International Law in collaboration with the University of the West Indies, through the Centre for Reparation Research and the PJ Patterson Institute for Africa-Caribbean Public Advocacy.
The launch event will be broadcast live, and may be viewed on www.uwitv.org and www.facebook.com/uwitv.
Over the years, there have been isolated attempts to quantify the reparations due for TCS and post-colonial harm; but this is a more up-to-date and hemispheric report.
This Report is historic because it quantifies for the first time the reparations due to the descendants of the enslaved right across the Americas and the Caribbean, and builds on the preliminary draft presented by Brattle Group in February 2023 by addressing some of the complex issues involving assessment of reparations which were identified at the Second Symposium.
This was accomplished with the advice and guidance of an Advisory Committee comprising of Judge Patrick Robinson and Professors Chantal Thomas, Verene Shepherd, and Robert Beckford. It also benefitted from the research done by UWI students Samantha Campbell and Mikel Hylton.
In arriving at the reparations due, the Report applies economic analysis to the work of scholars in multiple disciplines across different countries, who have documented and studied the harms of TCS, to quantify in a novel manner elements of reparations for TCS.
” The launch will be broadcast live, and may be viewed at www.uwitv.org and www.facebook.com/uwitv. “
For instance, while figures vary, the Report estimated that the harms caused by TCS were inflicted over the span of four centuries on about 19 million Africans kidnapped and transported to the Americas and Caribbean, including those born into slavery.
The total harm caused by TCS is calculated under the following heads of damages for the enslavement period: loss of labor income and loss of life (in the sense of the economic value of a lifetime’s labor), loss of liberty, personal injury, gender-based violence-including rape and forced pregnancy-and psychological damages.
For the post-enslavement period, the Report calculates reparations using the measure of wealth disparity, which is a useful tool that explains lack of access on the part of the descendants of the enslaved to many services, including health, education and housing.
It acknowledges that the quantification of reparations in the Report is not intended as-and cannot be-a full measure of compensation for TCS and endeavors to quantify certain well-defined components of the harm associated with TCS.
It is not surprising that the reparatory sums owed are close to or exceed the current GDP of the enslaving countries, as the Report’s calculations measure a harm inflicted on millions of persons, and sometimes entire nations, for hundreds of years, and therefore one year’s GDP, which measures the annual economic output of a country, is not the best yardstick to place the results in context.
Instead, the Report compares the magnitude of the estimates with national wealth and the cumulative GDP over the past several decades.
After concluding that the reparatory sums determined by Brattle Group reflect the enormity of the grotesque and unlawful practice of TCS, the Advisory Committee decided to recommend to countries entitled to reparations that they consider, in consultation with the former slave-holding countries, that reparations may be paid over a 10-year period, a 15-year period, a 20-year period, or a 25-year period.
Payment schedules in respect of these periods are attached as Annexes I, II and III of the Report. The Advisory Committee strongly recommends that any such arrangement should be secured by a binding agreement between victim countries and the former slave-holding countries.
The sums set out in the Report, in Tables 16, 17 and 22, represent the compensation to which a victim State is legally entitled; notwithstanding the sums set out in the payment schedules, it remains within the sovereign will of a victim State to determine what sum, other than the compensation to which it is legally entitled, it will accept as reparations apart from the sum to which it is legally entitled. (WiredJA)