Britain fully repaid slavery loan in 2015, says Sir Hilary

A loan that was taken by the British Government to pay slave owners for the abolition of slavery in 1834 was not fully repaid until 2015.

That disclosure was made by Vice-Chancellor of The UWI and Chair of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, Sir Hilary Beckles at a press conference hosted at the University of the West Indies on Wednesday, to confront claims by the British Government’s Treasury posted on its official Twitter channel earlier this month.

The tweet, which was shared with the HM Treasury’s 318,000 followers, read: “Millions of you helped end the slave trade through your taxes”.

Although it was subsequently deleted, the tweet triggered reactions by various interest groups, and captured the attention of the British media and the Centre for Reparation Research (CRR) at The UWI.

Sir Hilary noted that Britain had argued against reparations saying they could not apologize or provide compensation for slavery and the slave trade because it was not illegal at the time and it also took place a long time ago.

From left: Chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC) Sir Hilary Beckles; Director of the Center for Reparations Research at the UWI Professor Verene Shepherd; Jamaica’s Minister of Transportation and Works Michael Henry and Lord Anthony Gifford, member of the Jamaica Reparations Committee.

With the new discovery about the slavery loan, Sir Hilary said it meant that for 180 years, British citizens had been repaying the slavery abolition loan, which made it a present-day issue. Of major concern was the fact that this meant that taxes from persons in the Caribbean Diaspora in the UK had also been used to repay the loan.

“We consider this to be an immorality… it is the greatest act of political immorality,” stated Sir Hilary.

He also questioned whether there may have been a link between his presentation on reparations to the House of Commons, Parliament of Great Britain in July 2014 and the timing of the repayment of the loan, which subsequently happened in February 2015.

Sir Hilary also drew the audience’s attention to the significance of the value of the money in today’s economy. According to him, the £20 million (US$28 million) in 1835 would be valued at approximately £15 billion (US$21 billion) today. Additionally, he said, the amount paid to the slave owners represented 40 per cent of Britain’s national public expenditure at the time, which could be translated to be 40 per cent of the current national budget. If calculated today, this would be approximately £240 billion (US$335 billion).

The noted academic also pointed out that the total amount that was to be paid for the abolition of slavery was actually £47 million (US$65.6 million). He explained that the British Parliament actually paid £20 million (US$28 million) in cash to the plantation owners and then stipulated that the enslaved should work for an additional six years for free under the Apprenticeship period, to pay off the balance of £27 million (US$37.7 million. This, he said, meant that the British Parliament did not in fact pay for the abolition of slavery but instead the enslaved Africans paid the majority of the money for their freedom.

For these unjust provisions and the classification of the enslaved Africans as “property” and “chattel,” Sir Hilary characterized the Abolition Act of 1834 as the most “vile and racist piece of legislation in the history of mankind.”

He also pointed out that the British Parliament chose to implement an economic model for granting freedom that ensured the transfer of the wealth of the Caribbean back to Britain, using the cash liquidated from slavery. He revealed that research into the archives of the Bank of England, HM Treasury, and the Rothschild Merchant Bank shows that the British Government had been refinancing the slavery abolition loan over the past 150 years to fuel economic growth in Britain, with the last refinancing done in 1927.

He said that Britain owed the Caribbean a comprehensive development programme and should repay the money extracted from the Caribbean which has contributed to the burden of poverty which most of our countries face.

Sir Hilary urged the region to take a stand on the matter.


31 Responses to Britain fully repaid slavery loan in 2015, says Sir Hilary

  1. Greengiant February 25, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Yes we all in this region, supported by our brothers and sisters in the developed world need to take a united stand on this issue.

  2. jrsmith February 25, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    What a waste of time , its always to remind black people they are a product of slavery , this month its reparation, next month it would be climate change and the fowling month renewable energy …….. all shots in the dark bajan people have nothing to really look forward to……………. just talk……

  3. Sheron Inniss February 25, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Thank you for the history lesson. I still believe if you are sleeping with those people reparations will never come.

    • Jennifer February 25, 2018 at 7:02 pm

      yep. Showing no real standards or opposition. Dependency is the problem.

  4. Ossie Moore February 25, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    So Hillary B , does that mean that very black bajan is going to receive a ” bonus pay check ” ?

  5. Cavil Best February 25, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    I was hoping that my cheque of 11 million dollars would be coming soon.

    • Jennifer February 25, 2018 at 10:30 pm

      lol. Don’t wait hun.

  6. Saga Boy February 25, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Ossie Moore if we give the money back like that it will immediately go back in the hands of the white people.

  7. Jennifer February 25, 2018 at 11:07 pm

    Oh Hillary you should first get serious and give back your accolade. THIS PEOPLE WILL NEVER GET A CENT IN REPARATIONS. I am happy too, no amount of money can straighten this people out. D Trump recently signed the HR1242 bill. More to come.

  8. Ralph W Talma February 26, 2018 at 6:55 am

    Sir Hilary, you, being as clever with the English Language as you are – I refer inter alia to your splendiferous foreword of Mr Hoytes’ classic ‘Political Warriors’ – are conflating words permissible over 100 years ago during the slave trade with the mores of sensibilities today, and you will know this can cause all sorts of dormant feelings to rise to the surface. The important thing is that Wilberforce had the gumption to begin something which resulted in the UK and Colonies Government ending the slave trade. Thus ensuring that WE are free today to live our life to best of our ability. Do please let us leave it at that Sir, and try to make the most of our brief time here on this planet.

  9. Othneal February 26, 2018 at 8:01 am

    I found this article particularly interesting. From an academic perspective, it contains a number of facts hitherto unknown to the nonacademic. For instance, when confronted with with the heinous racism of Western Europeans, the British lump defense is “but it was the British who abolished slavery”. Such a claim is dishonest and hypocritical but above all else fails to acknowledge culpability.
    Those who failed to see the significance of this revelation, perhaps lack the ability to do so. unfortunately, they also lack the self restraint that protects the wise from making the ludicrous statements that betray the Fool.
    The issue of Slavery and Colonisation along with the legacy of bitterness left in their wake will remain until the White Western Europeans acknowledge that they inflicted an unforgivable and inhuman act of barbarity on the people they enslavement and then forced to ransom themselves. I am with Hilary on this one.
    If you throw pearls before ‘swine’ one is bound to recognise their value.

    • Jennifer February 26, 2018 at 8:12 am

      “Such a claim is dishonest and hypocritical but above all else fails to acknowledge culpability” yep – good call out.

      Look up the effects/symptoms of pineal calcification.

      • Jennifer February 26, 2018 at 8:19 am

        When chattel slavery was so called abolished the Europeans had built up their empire and this includes the Russians, Germany etc. They just got smart, and dumped excess foreseeable financial baggage. This is why EWB was able to be given independence on a mud platter.

  10. Othneal February 26, 2018 at 9:36 am

    @Jennifer, you have alluded to a fact that I am yet to hear even academics acknowledge. Without taking anything away from William Wilberforce et al, the fact that slavery was abolished when it was is no coincidence. The Industrial Revolution financed by the Transatlantic Slave Trade, was 40years away and would make that heinous commerce uneconomical. Slavery had about run it’s course, but by then the white man had convinced himself that black people were his property by right of superiority. It took all those 40 years to force him to let go and we had to pay him for our God given freedom.
    The fact that slavery financed the Individual Revolution supports a logical assertion that black people emancipated themselves.

  11. Robert MacDonald February 26, 2018 at 9:48 am

    The question may be, why should someone get money for someone else’s suffering.? Are you better off or worse off?
    What would be your position in life if your forefathers had not been enslaved? You do not know. Move forward. You are not slaves, and never have been, you have had your own independent country for over 50 years. Quit trying to blame the past.

  12. Ossie Moore February 26, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Robert MacDonald says : ” You do not know. Move forward. You are not slaves, and never have been, you have had your own independent country for over 50 years. Quit trying to blame the past “.

    Ossie Moore : The Jews still talk about the Holocaust , why can’t blacks talk about slavery ? ? ? ?t

    • Jennifer February 26, 2018 at 1:14 pm

      Ossie the so called Jews (faux) got billions and still getting paid. Them claim 6 million “jews” killed>>>> 40 million blacks dead, add in also the devil punch bowl. This is the hypocritical c^nT$ you got out there.

  13. Robert MacDonald February 26, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Ossie Moore:
    I did not say not to talk about slavery. I said to move forward quit blaming the fact that your forefathers were slaves for the problems that you face today.

  14. Othneal February 26, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Good for you @Jennifer. I gave a succinct reply to Robert MacDonald’s crass comments, however BT redacted it. Keep up the good work!

  15. june Naime February 26, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    Are the Irish Decedents who were the First Slaves on Barbados in line for Beckles Reparation Free-nest? Not a Mention…Sorry there is only a Selective One Sided Narrative here! Socialism Always Encourages Envy and Covetousness… No wonder his name is Hilary!

    One has to Admire Rihanna’s Tenacity to Work hard to reach her level of achievement demonstrating to all that just a kid from St. Michael willing to use her Talents and Abilities can achieve what she has put their mind to. Rihanna through her Drive and Determination is in a position where she can give a hand up, ‘not a hand out’ to assist others through her scholarship fund and other benevolent causes from her own pocket, not someone else. Her Motto is Work, Work, and Work.

  16. Saga Boy February 26, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    June Naime what exactly is your point re “ ” and hand outs?

  17. Saga Boy February 26, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    I support Pro Beckles. Compensation is long in coming. However it must be done in a manner that ensures that we are much better off than we are at the moment.

  18. Othneal February 26, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    @June Name: purveyor of misinformation. It was Scottish “rebels” who were banished to Barbados during the height of the slave trade. They were meant to be sold as slave but the captain of the ship could not bring himself to enslave his own kind….that state was reserved for black”subhumans. As for Rihanna, on what level do you consider her to be a typical example of success out of adversity. Give us another six, five, four no, three similar idols and I’ll be convinced of the ease with a black man or woman can overcome the pervasive negativity associated with being black, am not being cynical, simply calling a spade a spade. No pun intended.

    • Jennifer February 26, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      To be honest June N is just talking typical misleading hog wash. How long was the Irish enslaved for???? Could not even take the sun and too susceptible to disease. Then the said Irish also benefited from black enslavement too – look it up. Then we got another situation in which Ireland/Irish were not striped as a people and have retained ALL of their true/natural identity, names, foods, customs, nation/land, culture etc. And have even enjoyed white privilege. An indentured servant is not the same as a slave. As for Rhianna, she is under the said CONTROLLED YOKE this people is under. Just let her lean the wrong way and watch that wake up call come into fruition.

  19. jrsmith February 28, 2018 at 7:08 am

    Irish land owners was (Barbadoes ) they were banished to Barbados by Cromwell , they land was taken away for the British crown if I am wrong correct me some one…….
    This is why the white man rule the world , our black experts must keep reminding our black people of the slavery past………….

    • J. Payne March 3, 2018 at 8:56 am

      The world still turns. The Dutchman Sir William Courteen was ruined and lost a chunk of wealth from the Dutch East Indies within Barbados when Lord Carlisle was titled by England as the new owner of Barbados too.

  20. Ann Harding March 1, 2018 at 10:03 am

    If they would fix all our roads, I’d be immediately happy. But many cannot afford a vehicle to drive. So there must be side-walks and bike paths as well as a good, sustainable job done. There’d be a lot left over which should go into a trust that pays out to our schools and universities, to provide free education for the next 200 years.

  21. J. Payne March 3, 2018 at 8:51 am

    There’s slaves right now in Libya following Obama’s invasion of that Afrikan nation. What is this “Hillary” doing to free them? that would have much more of an affect right now.

  22. jrsmith March 4, 2018 at 6:45 am

    If we are all waiting on reparation , by the time its ready to be paid out it will all be owed to them and we all would be broke by then……………………
    Fancy Barbados receiving a billion pounds and a year later we are broke and again our politicians cannot account for the money , they are good at that in Barbados………………


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