Letters to the Editor

Dingwall needs help understanding the claim for reparation

Thursday, August 02, 2018

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Dear Editor,

As I see it writer Michael Dingwall has established himself as a mouthpiece for people like former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who himself is unapologetic about his financial benefit from criminal slavery in Jamaica and has something to hide.

Dingwall concludes his article in the Jamaica Observer of July 29, 2018 with Cameron's ipssissima verba, the call to “move on”. Regurgitating the advice of the slave master to move on is a cover up to comfort those not yet emancipated from mental slavery.

Dingwall's main attack against those calling for reparation is where he asserts that the claim for reparation, quite erroneously against Europe, has no chance for success in a court of law, alluding to it as a stinking corpse. He may be a good pathologist, but a poor lawyer where a little learning is a dangerous thing, especially when not properly briefed on the facts.

First of all, the claim to be actively pursed is against UK for its participation in the enslavement of people under British rule in Jamaica, and other Caribbean countries that may wish to join. It is a claim presented to the head of state for the UK, where whatever was done was carried out in the sovereign's name. It does not take much learning to accept that wrongful conduct by the sovereign's ministers or agents is always cognisable for redress by the sovereign as a matter of public law. Governor Edward John Eyre's case is an example of the law at that time.

Secondly, the claim for reparation is by the people to their head of State for a declaration that they were unlawfully enslaved in Jamaica and are entitled to compensation for the crime against humanity.

In our system of justice, redress for wrongs is administered by and in the name of the head of State to whom the offender and the victim have access. Fortuitously, Her Majesty is head of state for both the UK and the people of Jamaica, one for accountability and the other for protection.

The procedure for access to Her Majesty for redress for wrongs in Jamaica is usually through the courts, ending in the Privy Council, as provided for at section 3 of the Judicial Committee Act 1833 — significantly, the same year the Abolition of Slavery Act was passed like companion legislation.

Dingwall may be helped for understanding of the claim for reparation by someone reading to him section 4 of the Act that makes provision for complaints for which the ordinary courts do not have jurisdiction, such as a claim against the UK for damages from slavery in Jamaica. These are not judicial proceedings, a simple letter to Her Majesty is all that is necessary for a referral of a complaint to the Privy Council for advice.

Dingwall should fortify himself to endure the stink that assails him from the corpse of chattel slavery, and open himself for consultation with someone knowledgeable in the principles of liability for crimes against humanity, whenever and wherever committed, before calling for a burial of the claim for reparation. His opinion for a wake should make good reading.

Frank Phipps, QC


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