People who have never been involved in slavery are set to be officially asked for compensation by people who have never been enslaved, as national reparations commissions in the Caribbean begin preparing formal legal letters to send to the British royal family and other British institutions.
It is understood that formal letters will be sent by the end of this year, the Times has reported.
Initially the commissions had directly targeted governments to seek reparations for slavery that was abolished by Britain in 1833 and by America in 1865. However, there has been a shift in approach, heavily influenced by Laura Trevelyan, the former BBC correspondent, who gave a whopping £100,000 to ‘atone’ for her family’s ancestral slave holdings.
Speaking to The Telegraph in Grenada, Arley Gill, chair of the island nation’s Reparations Commission, said: “We are hoping that King Charles will revisit the issue of reparations and make a more profound statement beginning with an apology, and that he would make resources from the Royal family available for reparative justice
“He should make some money available. We are not saying that he should starve himself and his family, and we are not asking for trinkets.
“But we believe we can sit around a table and discuss what can be made available for reparative justice.”
He added that the duty to offer reparations lay “at all levels, banks, churches, insurance companies like Lloyds, and universities and colleges that benefited”.
Mr Gill added: “I would say that since the Laura Trevelyan initiative, there has been a buzz among our leaders in the Caribbean that this thing ought to happen and should happen.
“Our leaders have seen that this thing is feasible. When we spoke of reparations five years ago, ten years ago, in some circles we were laughed at.”
“What we are asking for is not charity. It’s not about the British aid programme. We are saying that you must pay your debt, which is not a hand out: it is an obligation morally and legally.”
Other institutions understood to soon be sent letters demanding payment include banking institutions and the Church of England.
Lawyer and commission chair Adrian Odle told The Telegraph that British institutions have ‘ancestral guilt’, saying “every property that the royal family is in possession of has the scent of slavery”.
However, some have not only questioned the morality and logic of the demands, but the hypocrisy, with there being no mention among the nations seeking reparations of their own history’s involvement in the slave trade – with thousands of black slave traders being present throughout history in the region.
Over the centuries, over a million white slaves were sold in northern Africa.