According to estimates presented to the Jamaican Government by International Criminal Court Judge Patrick Robinson, the United Kingdom owes Jamaica a staggering US$9.5 trillion in reparations. These estimates were developed by the international economics consulting firm, Brattle. This development marks a significant step in the reparations movement, as it is the first time that quantifiable amounts have been presented to show what former colonies are owed by their former masters.
The report, titled ‘Report on Reparations for Transatlantic Chattel Slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean’, also reveals that Spain owes Jamaica US$103 billion for reparations. The paper not only quantifies reparations for the period when chattel slavery was carried out but also accounts for the continuing harm thereafter.
Judge Robinson emphasized the historic significance of the report, stating that it provides a scientific and well-argued quantification of the reparations due in all the countries where transatlantic chattel slavery was carried out. The total sum of reparations to be paid by all former slave-holding states is estimated to be around US$107 trillion for the period of enslavement and an additional US$22 trillion for the post-enslavement period, resulting in a grand total of approximately US$130 trillion.
While Robinson acknowledges that these figures may seem high, he asserts that they accurately reflect the enormity of the grotesque and unlawful practice of transatlantic chattel slavery. He recommends that countries entitled to reparations consider payment over a 10-year, 15-year, 20-year, or 25-year period, in consultation with former slaveholding countries.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, Olivia Grange, thanked Judge Robinson for discussing the quantification of reparations and expressed her intent to study the report to see how it can inform the Roadmap to Reparation. This development brings attention to the ongoing conversation surrounding reparations and the need to address the historical injustices of the transatlantic slave trade.