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Lawyers address Caribbean reparations conference

Lawyers discuss potential legal action over reparations for slave trade at St Vincent conference

15 September 2013

Lawyers from Leigh Day are attending a three day conference in St Vincent, hosted by the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, to discuss a a potential legal claim against three European countries for the enduring legacy of the slave trade.

The conference, held from the 15th to the 17th September 2013, is the first major event on reparations following discussions at the Conference of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) held in Trinidad and Tobago in July at which the formation of a CARICOM Reparations Commission was agreed.

The aim of the Commission is to use all reasonable avenues to reach an amicable solution on reparations with Britain, France and the Netherlands, for what CARICOM members claim is the legacy of the Atlantic slave trade.

Richard Hermer QC with Leigh Day's Richard Stein and Martyn Day at breakfast meeting today (15 September 2013) with Prime Minister for St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves

Martyn Day and Richard Stein from Leigh Day are both attending the conference to discuss a strategy around a possible legal challenge against Britain, France and the Netherlands.

Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, one of the CARICOM countries, told the Associated Press in July that the legacy of slavery includes poverty and the lack of development which characterizes most of the region.

Martyn Day from UK law firm Leigh Day, who fought successfully for compensation from the British Government for hundreds of Kenyans tortured by the British colonial government during the Kenyan Emergency in the 1950’s said:

“This conference is the first step toward an amicable solution toward reparations for the ongoing legacy of the slave trade from those countries which exploited the resources of the Caribbean countries.

“What is an important factor in this potential legal action is that CARICOM would look for a settlement based on the impact of slavery on their communities today, as against the historic position of the individual slaves.'

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