ST GEORGE’S, Grenada- A United Kingdom (UK) family will publicly apologise to the people of the Caribbean island of Grenada, where its ancestors had more than 1,000 slaves in the 19th Century.
The aristocratic Trevelyan family, who owned six sugar plantations in Grenada, will also pay reparations.
‘It was really horrific’
BBC reporter Laura Trevelyan, a family member, visited Grenada in 2022 and said she was shocked that her ancestors had been compensated by the UK government when slavery was abolished in 1833 - but freed African slaves got nothing.
According to the BBC on February 5, 2023, Ms Trevelyan recalled her visit to the island for a documentary.
"It was really horrific... I saw for myself the plantations where slaves were punished, when I saw the instruments of torture that were used to restrain them."
"I felt ashamed, and I also felt that it was my duty. You can't repair the past - but you can acknowledge the pain."
Portrait of Sir John Trevelyan with wife Louisa Simon, who brought to the marriage ownership of about 1,000 slaves on Grenada.
Public apology & reparations
Ms Trevelyan said seven members of her family would travel to Grenada later in February to issue a public apology.
The family will give £100,000 ($120,000) to establish a community fund for economic development on the impoverished island and in the eastern Caribbean.
Ms Trevelyan said that in 1834, the Trevelyans received about £34,000 for the loss of their "property" on Grenada - the equivalent of about £3m in today's money.
"For me to be giving £100,000 almost 200 years later... maybe that seems like really inadequate," she said.
"But I hope that we're setting an example by apologising for what our ancestors did."
The Grenada National Reparations Commission described the gesture as commendable.
Ms Laura Trevelyan recalled her visit to
the island of Grenada for a documentary and 'It was really horrific... I
saw for myself the plantations where slaves were punished, when I saw
the instruments of torture that were used to restrain them.'
‘Reparation is the word’- Hon Fraser
Leader of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3), back in July 2022, called for reparations from the United Kingdom (UK) for the descendants of slaves, while noting that this must be captured in the pending reformed Constitution of the Virgin Islands
Honourable Fraser was at the time giving official remarks at the official opening of the Bernard ‘Yampi’ Nibbs Festiville at Festival Grounds, Tortola on July 27, 2022, when he sought to leave the word ‘Reparation’ as a takeaway for those present.
“But the one word I want to leave with you this evening is reparation. Reparation is a word I want you to remember. Reparation means whatever we were emancipated from we are going to be compensated for.”
Leader of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition,
Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3), back in July 2022, called for
reparations from the United Kingdom (UK) for the descendants of slaves,
while noting that this must be captured in the pending reformed
Constitution of the Virgin Islands.
‘Uk should get a loan for reparations’
According to the Opposition Leader, the British Government recently finished off paying off a loan that they used to compensate slave masters and plantation owners at the time of emancipation and can now seek a loan for reparations.
“It is time they get a new loan for reparations,” Hon Fraser said.
The British government in 1835 borrowed 20 million pounds – the equivalent of around 17 billion pounds today – to compensate slave owners for the lost capital associated with freeing slaves. This payout was a massive 40% of the government's budget and required many bonds to slave owners to effectuate the law.
The loan was one of the largest in history and was paid off by the UK government only in 2015.
The United Nations and the Caribbean Reparations Commission have also called for reparations for slavery.