Wealthy UK family to apologise in Grenada over slave-owning past

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Laura Trevelyan (left) explores a former slave plantation on Grenada during her visit in 2022

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Laura Trevelyan (left) explores a former slave plantation on Grenada during her visit in 2022

A 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.

BBC reporter Laura Trevelyan, a family member, visited Grenada in 2022.

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.

Speaking to the BBC in a personal capacity on Saturday, 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."

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.

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