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Montevideo, October 1st 2023 - 06:20 UTC



Actor Benedict Cumberbatch to account for his family's slave-owning past?

Thursday, January 5th 2023 - 10:07 UTC
Full article 6 comments
More families will be targeted and brought before international courts, Comissiong warned More families will be targeted and brought before international courts, Comissiong warned

British actor Benedict Cumberbatch might be called to account for his family's slaveholding ties to a sugar plantation in Barbados, it was reported.

The former Caribbean colony turned into an independent republic in 2021 plans to sue the descendants of cotton and sugar plantation owners, including Cumberbatch. The Barbados National Reparations Task Force is seeking redress after the Cumberbatches ancestors' inhuman business in the 18th century.

“All descendants of white plantation owners who benefited from the slave trade should be asked to pay reparations, including Cumberbatch's family,” David Denny, secretary-general of the Caribbean Peace and Integration Movement, told The Telegraph.

David Comissiong, vice-president of the National Reparations Commission, assured that what is being sought is that the descendants of slave-owning families pay damages. “This is in the early stages. We are just getting started. A lot of this story is just now coming to light,” he said.

Cumberbatch's seventh great-grandfather bought the Cleland plantation in northern Barbados in 1728, which held up to 250 slaves. When slavery was abolished in 1833, the UK government borrowed money and paid the slaveholders compensation which, together with the plantation's profits, created a fortune that would have been inherited by the later Cumberbatches.

The actor has never kept his past a secret and even starred in two films dealing with the issue. In a 2014 interview, he admitted that his mother had suggested that he change his last name to avoid being linked to his family's past.

In 2018 he also told The Telegraph that “we have our past, you don't have to look very far to see the past of slave owners. We were part of the whole sugar industry.”

According to the Daily Mail, the Cumberbatch family received £ 6,000 (around US$ 1 million of today's money) from the British government after slavery was abolished.

At the end of 2021, Barbados became independent from the monarchy in the UK becoming a republic, making Sandra Mason president. The event was attended by the now King Charles III and singer Rihanna, who was born on the Caribbean island. Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley also chairs the regional Caribbean committee on reparations for slavery.

Since then, they have begun a search for the descendants of slave owners to repair the damage, starting with politician Richard Drax, and announced that more families would be targeted.

Denny also told The Telegraph that the reparation funds should “be used to turn the local clinic into a hospital, support local schools, and improve infrastructure and housing.”

The Barbados government is already after Conservative UK MP Richard Drax for his family’s ancestral property, which it wants to turn into a monument to slavery.

Comissiong last month made it clear that if they are unable to convince families like the Draxes and Cumberbatches to pay reparations of their own free will, it will seek an international arbitration court's judgment to force them.

Even the British royal family will be targeted with reparations claims, Comissiong warned, while acknowledging it would have been impossible to pursue such claims if Barbados was still part of the British Commonwealth.


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  • Islander1

    When is all this harping on about what happened 2-5 centuries ago? Yes it was indeed awfull and despicable- but it was a very different world back then that operated under very different standards.
    Why pick all the time on UK- which was the first European Power to Outlaw the Slave Trade- decades before some others - and USA kept it up until their civil war in the 1860s.
    Why not ask questions of several of the African Royal Families who made a fortune selling their countrymen and women off to the European Slave Traders? And the MiddleEastern Arab Slave Traders who went into central Africa just to raid and seize slaves for on sale?
    Oh- and don't forget the 5 or 6 African Continent Countries that today -2023- still allow and practice slavery in their own countries?

    Never do we hear of any mention of the British Royal Navy Crews- several thousand who died of tropical disease- often entire crews- whilst trying to patrol and stop and seize the slave ships during the 1830s - to 1860s?

    Really is about time the WOKES woke up and accepted reality and the past is past- despicable thought it was centuries ago. Apologise for what ones ancestors may have done is right, but then you move on into the real world.

    Jan 05th, 2023 - 12:22 pm +2
  • Brasileiro

    Two centuries ago, if my family had the money, they would have bought you to be our table foot dog.

    That's why your thought is not valid.

    Or do you think your whiteness would free you from slavery?

    Or does anyone think that two hundred years ago families came to the Isles free, happy and bouncy?

    Jan 05th, 2023 - 04:36 pm 0
  • Livepeanuts

    United Kingdom should be very proud about its record on slavery and the way it behaved with regard to the slave trade, and Cuberbatch family was obeying the law of the time so there is nothing to complain about.
    Marxists like BLM (Black Lies Marxists) using PRESENTISM try to bring the past out of context in to the present and judge it by the laws of today and even say “give me the money” because your ancestors obeyed the law! Totally childishly Absurd.
    UK was the first super power ever to put an end to slavery and it cost us money even today, the loan was paid off in 2014, we all who paid UK taxes contributed a bit.
    UK applied the budget of a country and lost thousands of men in the fight against slavers or paying to buy their freedom, no country did more to end slavery, no force did more than the Royal Navy to end slavery. The worst enemies of ending the slave trade were black and Moslem rulers!
    Some slavery survives among the blacks and the Moslems in Africa TODAY and in the Communist world in an industrial scale in China. Slavery is LEGAL in Islam!
    If Barbados wants “free money” it can get lost, should work for money if it wants money, if it wantst to fight slavery Africa and China are the places to go!

    Jan 05th, 2023 - 07:11 pm 0
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