Barbados wants £2 TRILLION in reparations and hints UK is ready to cave to demands

​PM Mia Mottley

Barbados PM Mia Mottley has been credited as a key voice in the campaign for reparation

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 07/12/2023

- 13:47

PM Mia Mottley welcomed King Charles’s comments about the impact of slavery

The Prime Minister of Barbados said the country is owed trillions by slave-owning nations, including the UK.

Mia Mottley said Barbados was owed $4.9tn (£1.9tn) by slave-owning nations.

Speaking at the London School of Economics’ International Inequalities Institute, she repeatedly praised King Charles’s apparent willingness to confront slavery.

Mottley also noted that conversations over how this debt should be repaid would “be difficult and will take time."

Mttley and The King

Mottley has praised the King's apparent willingness to confront slavery


Mottley also met with Foreign Secretary David Cameron on Tuesday. However, she did not give details of the foreign secretary’s thoughts on the UK’s slavery-related debt.

She said: "I’m not going to get into the details of our conversation but suffice to say I think the foreign secretary will take his lead from His Majesty."

Mottley has been a prominent campaigner on the awareness of colonialism and its legacy since coming to power in 2018. She has been credited as a key voice for turning the call for reparations into a mainstream political issue.

The King said: "To forge a common future, that benefits all our citizens, we too must find new ways to acknowledge our past … This is a conversation whose time has come.”

The speech made no reference to financial reparations.


The King and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley

The King and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley during the Cop26 summit in 2021


Mottley said out that the UK owes $24trillion (£9.46trillion) in reparations to 14 countries affected by transatlantic slavery, Spain owes $17.1trillion (£6.74trillion), France owes $9.2trillion (£3.63trillion) and the Netherlands owes $4.86trillion (£1.92trillion)

She said: "These numbers, if taken out of context, can appear to be staggering. But in relation to the total wealth accumulated over a period of time, the numbers are actually minuscule" adding that it would allow the global community to "move on in strength rather than languishing in the shadows of a disgraceful history."

Mottley also cited the Black Lives Matter movement and the murder of George Floyd in 2020 as being a key part in the awareness of reparation.

She said: "For the first time the world recognised that we could no longer ignore the trauma of four centuries of enslavement and barbarism and of denying people their humanity...I want to salute the King for having the courage to understand that this is a conversation whose time has come."

Rishi Sunak has previously rejected suggestions that the UK should pay reparations for its role in slavery.

He said that: "Trying to unpick our history is not the right way forward and is not something we will focus our energies on."

Cameron in a 2015 trip to Jamaica acknowledged that slavery was "abhorrent in all its forms."

However, said he hoped "we can move on from this painful legacy."

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