Denis O’Brien has urged Europe to “concede” and pay reparations to Caribbean countries for historical slavery as he announced the creation of a new campaign group based in London.
Mr O’Brien (mission) said he believes the campaign will take two to three years to bear fruit.
The Irish billionaire said when he meets prime ministers and ministers in the Caribbean there is “always a deep-seated resentment” about slavery. This had prompted him to personally start a new redress campaign with the working title “Repair Action”.
He said that when the Caribbean nations gained their independence, it was “an appalling injustice” that they were “left with empty vaults” with no financial, social or investment resources.
“Ex-British slaveholders in Jamaica received €19 billion between 1838 and 2015,” Mr O’Brien said. “All the wonderful buildings, infrastructure and universities you see in Britain today were built on the backs of slavery. The same in Belgium, the same in France, the same in Holland and mostly in Germany too. In my opinion, that is reprehensible.”
Mr O’Brien said he hired a team that included people who worked on the Jubilee/Millennium debt cancellation campaign, which resulted in a number of developing countries receiving debt cancellation in exchange for their Approval to invest the funds in social programs.
“The EU and of course Britain must admit what happened,” Mr O’Brien said of historic slavery. “It begins with an apology that hasn’t been made after hundreds of years.”
He said European countries are being asked to create an investment financing arrangement for each slavery-affected country in the Caribbean and provide aid to key social and economic programs over a 25-year period.
Mr O’Brien promised a study would determine the allocation of these funds to each country. “It’s not going it alone. I am consulting with and have the support of three prime ministers in the region,” he said with his campaign team already established in London.
He added, “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
In a later interview with The bow, Mr O’Brien attacked big tech companies like Facebook, Google and Netflix for acting like “pirates” by using his Digicel network for their services without paying a fee. He described their business models as “amoral”.
Mr O’Brien, a tax resident of Malta, attacked the tech giants for not paying taxes in the Caribbean.
“Remember, Netflix, Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook don’t pay taxes in Jamaica,” he said.
“They don’t contribute to your healthcare services, to the education of the people of the Caribbean or Jamaica, and they launder all their money in a tax haven.”
Mr O’Brien said that as an investor in Haiti and Jamaica he was “absolutely proud” that he was paying taxes in those countries because it was “the right thing” as Digicel’s customers are there.
The telecoms tycoon claimed the EU is on the verge of ensuring Big Tech would help pay for network costs. He said he wanted Caricom, the Caribbean country network, to force big tech to shoulder the cost of rolling out 5G networks.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/denis-obrien-says-europe-must-pay-reparations-for-caribbean-slavery-41862773.html Denis O’Brien says Europe must pay reparations for Caribbean slavery