Caribbean leaders say the effects of the slave trade can still be felt today, and it's time for Europe to offer reparations—and a clear apology. The leaders of 15 Caribbean countries are meeting today, and they're expected to issue a 10-point plan calling for action, the Guardian reports. "Our aim is to open up a dialogue with European states," says reparations task force head Sir Hilary Beckles. The group is "concerned more with justice for the people who continue to suffer harm at so many levels of social life" than with "financial transactions," Beckles says.
The task force is calling for development aid, medical assistance, literacy support, and backing for a cultural exchange program between the Caribbean and West Africa. It's also seeking diplomatic assistance easing the path to citizenship for the children of Caribbean people who have moved to Africa. Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark all face the demands, but "Britain will be very much at the forefront," a British lawyer working with the Caribbean countries tells Reuters. "It was the primary slave power and colonial power in the Caribbean." And it needs to address its past, says Beckles: "America has made efforts to reflect on their own history, but Britain has made no such effort to do so."