Barbados has long been vocal about its belief that reparations are owed to help atone for the sin of slavery. Now leaders of the Republic are turning their attention to one of the most premier slave-holding families in its history and considering plans to make one of its prominent, wealthy descendant pay reparations if negotiations for other forms of atonement fail.
Richard Drax, 64, is a conservative member of the British parliament and descendant of the Drax family, who “pioneered the plantation system in the 17th century and played a major role in the development of sugar and slavery across the Caribbean and the US,” according to a report by The Guardian.
Drax recently traveled to Barbados to meet with the country’s Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, to discuss ways to atone for his family’s pivotal role in slavery, the Guardian reported.
Suggestions include turning the massive plantation Drax inherited from his father in 2017 into an Afro-centric Museum and using it to house low-income Bajan families, with Drax paying for some of the work.
If Drax and Mottley cannot reach an agreement, Barbados officials said they are prepared to take legal action.
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“Drax is fabulously wealthy today. The Drax family is the central family in the whole story of enslavement in Barbados, said David Comissiong, the Barbados ambassador to Caricom and deputy chairman of the task force.
“They are the architects of slavery-based sugar production. They have a deep historical responsibility. The process has only just begun and we trust that we will be able to negotiate. If that doesn’t work, there are other methods, including litigation,” Comissiong continued.
Barbados parliament member Trevor Prescod agreed with him.
“If the issue cannot be resolved we would take legal action in the international courts,” Prescod said. “The case against the Drax family would be for hundreds of years of slavery, so it’s likely any damages would go well beyond the value of the land.”
Other families are also responsible for the horrors of slavery in Barbados, but the Drax family is said to be the most prominent.
“Other families are involved, though not as prominently as the Draxes. This reparations journey has begun. The matter is now for the cabinet of Barbados. It is in motion. It is being dealt with,” Comissiong said.