The former Dutch colony of Suriname has joined Caribbean nations to press for compensation from the Netherlands, the UK and France for the lingering legacy of the Atlantic slave trade.
Caricom, a regional organisation for the Caribbean Community, has taken up the cause and is preparing for a long drawn-out battle with the countries’ governments.
It has engaged British law firm Leigh Day, which waged a successful fight for compensation for hundreds of Kenyans who were tortured by the British colonial government during the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s and 1960s, the Guardian newspaper reports.
Caricom will target the Netherlands on behalf of Suriname, the UK on behalf of the English-speaking areas of the Caribbean, and France on behalf of Haiti.
According to Caricom, the legacy of slavery includes widespread poverty and under-development.
Saint Vincent prime minister Ralph Consalves told the Guardian any settlement should include a formal apology.
Earlier this month, social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher stopped short of an apology when he expressed the government’s ‘deep regret’ for the Dutch slave trade. He was speaking at a ceremony to mark 150 years since the Netherlands banned slavery in its former colonies.