A historic reparative apology guided by The UWI and the Caricom Reparations Commission

Laura Trevelyan (far right) and members of her family sign a formal apology on Monday, February 27, to begin righting the wrongs of their ancestors who owned more than 1,000 slaves in the 19th Century, during a forum co-hosted by the Grenada National Reparations Committee.


The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica W.I. Monday, March 06, 2023—The first point in the Caribbean-led reparatory justice programme jointly championed by The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and CARICOM calls for ‘formal and sincere apology’ as a precondition of healing for descendants of enslaved peoples.

The Trevelyan Family apology on Monday, February 27, during a forum co-hosted by the Grenada National Reparations Committee (GNRC) and The UWI shows the successful application of this framework, which has come to be known as the “Ten Point Plan”.

Birthed from close consultations with Professor Sir Hilary Beckles in his dual lead roles as Vice- Chancellor of The UWI and Chairman of the Caribbean Reparations Commission (CRC), the Trevelyans delivered a public apology and an initial £100,000 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,” and noted, “its damaging effect continues to 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.

Sir Hilary who brokered and guided conversations with the Trevelyans and the Government of Grenada affirmed the transformative significance of the family’s initiative. “These are developments that are transforming the world. These are developments that require courage and commitment to look into your history, your past and to recognize that a crime has been committed.

A crime that has led to your own enrichment and privilege and to be able to say this was wrong. It was inhumane.”

“The reparations movement is a call for partnership,” Sir Hilary asserted. “It’s a call for diminishing the debt owed to the people of this region. And it’s a call to have a shared vision for the future.” He clarified, “We’re not calling for racial strife. We’re not calling for international conflict. We believe reparations is the key for a win-win strategy for both sides of this conversation.”

As an activist institution, The UWI continues its championing of reparatory justice and the advocacy, consciousness-raising, and support for the CARICOM Reparations Commission’s Ten Point Plan. The Trevelyans credited the Ten Point Plan as “the road map” guiding the Family’s journey to this juncture. Sir Hilary reinforced that the framework calls for “an apology, where there is an acknowledgement of a crime and a genuine and sincere desire to participate in an act of repair.”

Laura Trevelyan’s personal contribution of £100,000 will be used to establish an education fund for The UWI Open Campus, with details of the fund to be determined by the GNRC in collaboration with The UWI and the Government of Grenada. Other Trevelyan family members have also made commitments towards bursaries for The UWI Open Campus, Grenada, the Grenada Education and Development Programme, while others have offered their time to ongoing projects in Grenada.

With members of his cabinet in full attendance, Prime Minister the Honourable Dickon Mitchell Mitchell accepted the Trevelyan apology on behalf of all CARICOM citizens as the beginning of a step in the right direction. “As a Head of Government,” he said, “I want to take the opportunity to join in a public request to my fellow Head of Government of the United Kingdom to accept our kind invitation to commence dialogue in an open, transparent, frank and dignified manner to talk of the need for reparative justice for the citizens of CARICOM.”

The Forum also included Arley Gill, Chair of the GNRC, and Dr Nicole Phillip-Dowe, GNRC’s Vice- Chair and Deputy Director (Ag.) of The UWI Open Campus Country Sites (OCCS), other government officials and CARICOM Reparations advocates, along with affiliates of the Rastafarian community and primary and secondary school students from across Grenada. It was held at the Annex, Grenada Trade Centre, and streamed live via The UWI’s public information platform UWItv.

Prime Minister of Grenada, the Honourable Dickon Mitchell, together with Dr. Nicole Phillip-Dowe,
GNRC’s Vice-Chair and Deputy Director (Ag.) of The UWI Open Campus Country Sites, Professor Sir
Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of The UWI and Chairman of the Caribbean Reparations Commission
and Arley Gill, Chair of the GNRC display the letter of apology presented by the Trevelyans.

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  1. Roland Alan Mitchell
    March 10, 2023

    Well I never thought That I would live to see the day when while people apologised for slavery . It is a step in the right direction. How do you start to make good the wrongs done by whites to slaves. I recommend that the key work on this was a PHD Thesis (1942), by Dr Eric Williams entitled Capitalism and Slavery 1942 Here Williams showed that their was a relationship between slavery and the Industrial revolution in England. Indeed he contends that the proceeds of slavery fuelled modern British Industry. For example banks such as Barclays Bank Plc , were built by 2 brothers from their Jamaica Plantations, from the blood of Negro slaves. There is no need to get hysterical now. These days are long gone.

    I would like to see that a poor boy or poor girl, descendants of slavery can get a good education and liberate themselves from having to work 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Maybe after August 2023, I might, inshallah, have some personal good news to share with Dominica News Online on that.

    • Gone Are The Days
      March 11, 2023

      Yes Roland, agreeably those days are long gone. What’s also being addressed here is the lingering effects of slavery which apparently drove this family to attempt at making some sort of amends. But underneath it all is what they have admittedly enjoyed, generational wealth and wealth creation which had been denied their victims institutionally for over 400 years. Only then your last paragraph could become a reality for the poor boy or girl descendants of Africans enslaved, tortured by the British.

  2. LawieBawie
    March 9, 2023

    This indeed is a noble gesture and not to be taken lightly. Be certain however that no monetary value can be calculated or applied to the arduous life, torture and horrific death which was meted out to our ancestors of African heritage by white Europeans.

  3. C Richards
    March 9, 2023

    One small step.. towards genuine acknowledgement and accountability of The Maafa, Swahili for “Great disaster”: The enslavement for centuries of black people, the most evil crime against humanity. This family has shown courage and faced the descendants of enslaved Caribbean people with this tangible act of acknowledgement of their ancestors wrongdoing. Here are A few of the global entities whose fortunes are from murder, rape & brutal slave labour. Lloyds of London- (one founder Simon Fraser owned Castle Bruce Estate) Barclays, UK Governments, N M Rothschild & Sons Bank in London, several Churches and multiple European governments MUST do the same. There should be a global law enforcement arm, like the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) in the US to find, prosecute these entities and they must follow the full path to reparations. There is no statute of limitations on these crimes. It cannot be ‘if the current beneficiaries of African slavery want to’. They MUST start now.

  4. smh
    March 8, 2023

    I don’t know which is more pathetic, the white people grovelling to black people, or the black people who feel like they need some type of “apology” or “reparations” for something they didn’t even experience themselves. But it’s no surprise that it’s a woman leading the charge

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7
    • Too many Black collaborators in ws
      March 10, 2023

      Oh you soften your tone on this one, that will help to show a bit of support, it’s better to simply get out of the way and be quiet that’s nothing new. The whole family need to feel free in church on Sundays. But they’re not alone. Georgetown U Jesuits priests gave Preferential treatment to descendents of African people they sold in the 1800’s, Brown U did the same few years ago. Pressure is mounting, don’t try to stop it. It will help if you look up the term Meritorious Manumission, however, you must consider that some Black people went right back to the plantations into slavery just to prepare other enslaved people for the Underground Railroad escape. What is your role today?

    • Channel 1
      March 10, 2023

      @smh – Very interesting analysis. Well done.

      • Long Road Ahead
        March 13, 2023

        You’re probably a white uneducated person, but this is typical of what Black handkerchief heads/coons would write.

  5. derp
    March 8, 2023

    This is ridiculous what does the present generation have to do with their ancestors apologizing on their behalf, as if their ancestors were alive today, you think they would apologize smh… sins…. that was years ago move on smh. If they are financial well of directly because of their family slave business give back and help those affected fine.

    • Old News
      March 11, 2023

      derp, what’s also ridiculous is your lack of knowledge of your history. Their ancestors were paid reparations for stopping the enslavement of the African people, every one of them.

    March 8, 2023

    it have african royalty visiting the caribean all now

    go behind them and make them apologize for slavery first . ecause there ancestors were the start of it . there ancestors sold us into slavery and profited from it

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6
    • Just Asking
      March 10, 2023

      Is your money, you want to get your money back Channel 1? Id10t

    • There's more
      March 10, 2023

      No pal, that sh*t didn’t happen. What else did you expect them to teach you. Educate yourself that myth has been debunked.

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