Editorial, Jamaica Observer, Friday, June 07, 2013
England’s expression yesterday of sincere regret and offer of compensation for the acts of torture that a British colonial government carried out against Kenyans fighting for liberation from colonial rule in the 1950s and 1960s, will, we expect, revive the reparations debate in the Caribbean.
As reported on page 29 of today’s Jamaica Observer, the simultaneous announcement in Nairobi and London sparked celebration in the Kenyan capital. Elderly Kenyans clapped and sang joyful songs of struggle during a near two-hour press conference attended by Mr Christian Turner, the British high commissioner to Kenya.
In London, Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons that his Government accepted that Kenyans were subjected to torture and other ill treatment.
However, what we found most significant was that Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office insisted that an “expression of deep regret” was not the same thing as an apology.
Wire service reports tell us that the compensation will see approximately US$21.5 million being paid to the 5,200 Kenyans who were found to have been tortured, or about US$4,100 per Kenyan victim. Another US$9.25 million will be used to pay costs to the Kenyans’ legal team.
Quite frankly, the payouts are low, and the British Government, we are told, has made it clear that it “doesn’t accept liability for the actions of previous colonial governments”. Continue reading