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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 06:52 GMT
Cash call for 'slavery's legacy'
Market scene in Jamaica
Mr Brown says slavery has left a legacy of poverty in Jamaica
A mayor in Jamaica has called on Wales to compensate his country for the legacy of poverty he says has been left by the slave trade.

Clarendon mayor Milton Brown told a BBC Wales documentary that countries involved in the trade had a "moral responsibility" to help those affected.

Clarendon was once dominated by a Welsh slave-owning family.

A descendant of the family - originally from Flintshire - has now offered to make a contribution to the community.

The mayor argues that slavery has left a lasting legacy in the Caribbean, whereas Wales made long-term gains in the growth of industries like copper and iron, which were boosted by slavery.

Mr Brown said: "All those countries that were involved in slavery have a moral responsibility to have some form of restoration [compensation].

"Wales being one of those countries, I would expect them to take the necessary measures to have some form of restoration done."

Milton Brown
The mayor would like to see money invested in education

He added that he thought education would be the "best avenue for restitution".

The Pennant family owned large slave-run sugar plantations in the Clarendon area of Jamaica.

They used the money they made to buy the Penrhyn Estate in Gwynedd and develop the north Wales slate industry.

Douglas Pennant, a descendant of the family, said his admiration for his ancestor Richard Pennant, the father of the north Wales slate industry, was tainted by his involvement in slavery.

Moral debt

He said: "What he did by today's standards was appalling, but you have got to remember he was a man of his time.

"Slavery was one of the greatest crimes that ever happened in history. It was far worse than what happened in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s."

Mr Pennant said there was a moral duty to make reparations.

He said: "Morally there is a debt, but practically on economic lines, you can't do it because so many generations have gone by."

But Mr Pennant has suggested funding a project in Clarendon though a charitable trust and has been put in touch with Mayor Brown by the programme makers.

As well as boosting the wealth of a number of Welsh families, researchers believe the slave trade was important in the industrial development of Wales.

Chris Evans, from the University of Glamorgan, said: "There are very clear links between the Swansea copper industry and slavery because it's a good that was in demand on the African coast among African slave traders.

"In north Wales, the development of the Parys mountain mine is closely connected to the whole issue of Atlantic shipping and the slave trade because so much of the copper that is being made there is destined for the sheathing of naval vessels.

"The iron industry has very clear roots in slave enterprise.

"If we think of Merthyr Tydfil, the great starting point of the modern Iron industry in Wales, the key figure is Anthony Bacon who made his money in Atlantic commerce shipping slaves among other things."

Wales and Slavery: The Untold Story is on BBC2 Wales and BBC 2W on Thursday, 22 March at 1900 GMT.




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