University of Glasgow recently published a comprehensive report into the institution’s historical links with racial slavery and as a part of its reparative action, plans to pay £200 million (approximately J$34 billion) to the University of the West Indies in value that was extracted from Jamaica and the Caribbean."
The University of Glasgow is working with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and hopes to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen academic collaboration between the two institutions.
The study entitled "the Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow report, acknowledges that whilst it played a leading role in the abolitionist movement, the University also received significant financial support from people whose wealth at least in part derived from slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries.
"It estimates the present-day value of all monies given to the University which might have been fully or partly derived from slavery to be in the order of tens of millions of pounds, depending on the indexation formula.
"The University has now agreed a proactive programme of reparative justice which includes the creation of a centre for the study of slavery and a memorial or tribute at the University in the name of the enslaved.
UWI Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles who also chairs the CARICOM Reparations Commission, told the Jamaica News Network (JNN) programme – Insight, that the University of Glasgow recognised that Jamaican slave owners had adopted the University of Glasgow as their university of choice and that £200 million of value was extracted from Jamaica and the Caribbean.”
He noted that the records of the University of Glasgow shown to him by Vice Chancellor Sir Anton Muscatelli detailed a ‘massive influx’ of grants and endowments from Jamaica.
He said the University of Glasgow and UWI were currently drafting a memorandum of understanding, and the term ‘reparatory justice’ is expected to be included.
The £200 million would be a combination of cash and kind. “We are not on the street corners asking for handouts. We are looking for partnerships and development.”
One of the projects in which the University of Glasgow has reportedly shown interest involves research in chronic diseases in the Caribbean, including hypertension, diabetes, and childhood obesity.
“They are looking at the possibility of partnering with us and having a massive institute for chronic disease research that is going to prevent the proliferation of these diseases in the future,” said Beckles.
The university has announced that it has launched a wide-ranging and ambitious “reparative justice programme” that is based on the findings of more than two years of research.
In addition, the University of Glasgow had also announced that it intends to implement programmes and projects that will provide scholarships and exchange programmes for Jamaican and other Caribbean students through its links with The UWI.
Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, said: “The University of Glasgow has a proud record of anti-slavery activity including petitioning Parliament to abolish slavery and awarding an honorary degree to the emancipationist, William Wilberforce. Glasgow also educated James McCune Smith, a formerly enslaved New Yorker who became the first ever African American to receive a medical degree.
“This report has been an important undertaking and commitment to find out if the University benefitted from slavery in the past. Although the University never owned enslaved people or traded in the goods they produced, it is now clear we received significant financial support from people whose wealth came from slavery.
“The University deeply regrets this association with historical slavery which clashes with our proud history of support for the abolition of both the slave trade and slavery itself.
As we published a report into our historical links to slavery, @UofGVC explains why it was important to look into the ' hidden history of the University'. Find out more about the report and our plans for reparative justice: https://t.co/HLGCSmLboB pic.twitter.com/8l23gC5IZb— University of Glasgow (@UofGlasgow) September 17, 2018
In the meantime, a member of the National Council on Reparations in Jamaica, Lord Anthony Gifford, QC, has welcomed the decision of The University of the West Indies (UWI) to research chronic diseases using part of the money it will reportedly be receiving from The University of Glasgow in Scotland in reparations for slavery. This decision to “devote the money to the healing of various diseases and research on various diseases which spring from slavery is right in line with CARICOM policy,” he said. The CARICOM Reparations Commission included the Public Health Crisis as one item in its 10 Point Action Plan. It said, among other things, that the African descended population in the Caribbean has the highest incidence in the world of chronic diseases in the forms of hypertension and type two diabetes. “This pandemic is the direct result of the nutritional experience, physical and emotional brutality, and overall stress profiles associated with slavery, genocide, and apartheid,” it declared. “The chronic health condition of Caribbean blacks now constitutes the greatest financial risk to sustainability in the region. Arresting this pandemic requires the injection of science, technology, and capital beyond the capacity of the region,” the Commission asserts. Accordingly, it says “Europe has a responsibility to participate in the alleviation of this heath disaster. “
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