EXPLAINER: Why Barbados may have a reparations claim against Drax Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

The Drax Family situation in relation to Barbados’ campaign for slavery reparations is completely unique and distinct, and is now in the hands of higher officials.

To this end, a claim has not been made against the family, but one could come after further investigations beyond where the matter now lies.

With British and foreign media running stories about not simply the Draxes, but erroneously about Barbados being in pursuit of payments now from British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, one CARICOM reparations representative is taking the time to explain the truth.

National Task Force on Reparations Deputy Chairperson David Comissiong is choosing to set the record clear about Barbados’ and CARICOM’s Reparatory Justice campaign.

He said that there are no claims against Cumberbatch and his family at this time. He also stated, in fact, there are no claims against any European families at this time.

So, why not go after families – plantation owners, their descendants and the like, with the reparations claims?

He said, “The reason is that it is much easier to establish a Reparations claim against a legal entity such as a national Government or a company than it is against a family. A family, after all, may be subject to all types of discontinuities and admixtures over an extensive period of time.”

Comissiong explained Barbados went after governments firstly.

“In the year 2016, CARICOM, and by extension Barbados, advanced a Reparations claim against six Western European governments– inclusive of the government of the United Kingdom– for Reparations for the damage that Barbados and the other CARICOM nations experienced during the centuries of European orchestrated Native genocide and African enslavement.

“And the claim was advanced against the national Government because it constitutes the institutional linkage between the European nation’s present and its past.”

Then the claims went a step further to include entities.

“In the following years, CARICOM and by extension Barbados, extended the Reparations claim to currently existing European companies and institutions that were either directly implicated in the crimes committed during those centuries of genocide and enslavement or that benefitted financially from the said crimes.”

What makes the Drax family different and open to a possible reparations claim in the future?

Comissiong explained, “Where Barbados is concerned, our National Task Force on Reparations has examined the case of the Drax family, and has determined that this particular family presents the unique case of a family that arrived in Barbados in 1627 — at the very beginning of the English settlement of the island– and that has had a near 400 year uninterrupted presence in Barbados as owners and operators of the Drax plantations, inclusive of the famous Drax Hall Plantation.

“The Barbados National Task Force on Reparations therefore believes that the historical facts pertaining to the Drax family are more than clear to support a Reparations claim.”

What is the next step in relation to the Draxes?

“It is against this background that the issue of a possible Reparations claim against the current owner of the Drax Hall Plantation and leading representative of the Drax Family has been referred by the Task Force to higher governmental authorities.

“This is where the matter currently stands,” Comissiong shared.