Members of the Trevelyan family have apologised to the people of Grenada for their ancestors’ role in the enslavement of hundreds of Africans on their plantations.
Laura Trevelyan and members of her family delivered the apology today at the Grenada National Reparations Commission (GNRC) and The University of the West Indies Reparations Forum.
Laura, who is a journalist with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), along with her cousin John Dower read the apology on behalf of over 100 family members.
“I’m so sorry about our painful, shared past and for the role of our ancestors in it,” Laura said prior to reading the apology.
The Trevelyans have committed to giving ?100,000 to establish a community fund for economic development that will be managed by The University of the West Indies. Additionally, other family members will be making donations and have committed to giving their time to community projects in Grenada.
Sir John Trevelyan and his wife Louisa Simond owned about 1,000 enslaved persons on six plantations. They received ?26,898, which is equal to about ?3million in today’s money, as compensation for freeing their slaves.
Laura said she understands the money pales in comparison to what her family received but she said the money is what she can afford to give at this time. The donation comes from money she will receive from her BBC pension.
She has urged the United Kingdom Government to meet with its former colonies in the Caribbean to discuss what can be done to right the wrongs of history.
Laura also thanked Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, for guiding her family on the path towards reparatory justice.
In accepting the apology, Grenada Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell noted that Laura and her family did not have to do it.
“I appreciate that some of our fellow citizens may see this as tokenism, as an attempt to pacify us, but I am satisfied that sometimes even tokenism is a step in the right direction. They did not have to do this” Mitchell stated.
Chairman of the GNRC, Arley Gill, commended the Trevelyans for their “brave step” on the journey to reparatory justice.
“Today is a day of remembrance, a day to remember our ancestors and their descendants and it is finally a day of recognition of the harms of slavery and a moment of reckoning that is long overdue,” he said.
“This apology and financial commitment from Laura Trevelyan and her family should serve as a clarion call to other families, institutions and governments to acknowledge their wrongs, apologise and commit to repairing the harm done by their ancestors.”
Gill added that Grenada does not expect the Trevelyans to pay for the wrongs that have been committed by European colonisers.