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British legislator urges Britain to pay compensation to Caribbean for slavery

Published 13 March 2023


Buckie Got It Media Source

By CMC News

A British opposition legislator, who said he has links to Grenada, is calling on the United Kingdom government to pay compensation to the Caribbean for Britain’s role in the slave trade.

Labour parliamentarian,  Clive Lewis, said London must enter into “meaningful negotiations” with the Caribbean countries and pay them reparation to mitigate the impact of slavery.

He said the government should follow the example of the Trevelyans, a wealthy aristocratic family, who recently apologized for their role in the slave trade in Grenada and set up an educational fund on the island nation.

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“I would contend that we cannot debate our government’s role in promoting financial security and reducing inequality in the Caribbean without discussing the elephant in the room – namely, the preceding 400 years of exploitative colonial history and the urgent need for some form of reparatory justice,” he said thanking the Trevelyan family for doing “what no British government have ever done.

“They apologized for their ancestors’ part in the exploitation of the 1,000 slaves they owned on six plantations. They acknowledged the financial and cultural advantage that had generated for them, and urged the British Government, as I do today, to enter meaningful negotiations with the governments of the Caribbean in order to make appropriate reparations.”

“The Trevelyan family did not leave it there. They set up an educational fund worth £100,000, and in so doing opened the door of the debate just a little wider. Thank you very much for all that you have done,” he added as members of the family watched the debate from the gallery on Wednesday.

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Chairman of the Caribbean Reparations Commission (CRC), Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, said the Trevelyans delivered a public apology and an initial £100,000 (One GBP=US$1.20 cents) to begin righting the wrongs of their ancestors who owned more than 1,000 slaves in the 19th Century.

Accompanied by a group of seven of her relatives, British-American BBC anchor/correspondent, Laura Trevelyan read an apology, signed by 104 of the descendants of the part owners of six plantations in Grenada.

The Trevelyans in their collaborative statement acknowledged slavery as “a crime against humanity,” noting also “its damaging effect continues to the present day.

“We repudiate our ancestors’ involvement in it, and urge the British government to enter into meaningful negotiations with the governments of the Caribbean in order to make appropriate reparations through CARICOM and bodies such as the Grenada National Reparations Committee,” said family spokespersons.

Lewis, the Norwich South representative, described the Commonwealth as a “relationship between Britain and her former colonies”, and Caribbean countries as “a partner who has endured 400 years of the most hideous abuse.

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