Britain Still Refuse to Apologize For Slavery

Jamaican PM Portia Simpson Miller

Jamaican prime minister Portia Simpson Miller suggested this week that the British government should finally apologise for enslaving the ancestors of the Jamaican peoples.

The PM also hinted that the former colony was ready to ditch the British monarchy and become a republic.

Talking to the BBC hours before Prince Harry landed at Kingston’s Normal Manley Airport for a four-day visit, Ms Simpson Miller said: “No race should have been subjected to what out ancestors were subjected to – it was barbaric and brutal.

“We gained our freedom through the sweat, blood and tears of our ancestors and we are now free.

“If Britain wishes to apologise, fine with us, no problem at all.”

British slavers shipped millions of Africans from their homeland to Jamaica from the 17th to early 19th centuries to work on commercial plantations.

Up to a third of the uprooted people died within three years of arriving in Jamaica.

The unpaid labour of the survivors generated enormous wealth for the British ruling class.

Ms Simpson Miller, who had lunch with Prince Harry in Kingston, said: “Whether Britain will be able to pay compensation I don’t know.

“We have heard the calls, but I’m not making any such call on the British government.”

Jamaica's national heroes 4 of which was murdered by the British

Ms Simpson Miller said that 2012 – the 50th year since independence from Britain – would be a good year to start electing its own head of state.

“We came on a long journey, from slavery to adult suffrage to our independence.

“We are a nation where our maturity is now saying we should look to a form of government which would take full charge of our destiny.”

Ms Simpson Miller refused to be drawn on whether or when she might call a referendum on the issue, saying: “We will be celebrating our 50th anniversary in August, so for us to be looking at changes now is an appropriate time in our history.”

She emphasised that her plans were not a personal attack on the British monarch.

“It’s not about getting rid of the unpopular queen. “I am fond of her, she is a wonderful lady, such a warm beautiful person.

“But in terms of our history we have some things to do.”