Letters seeking apology and reparations from royal family to be sent by year’s end

The following article is republished from The Tribune and was written by Letre Sweeting, Tribune Staff Reporter, on September 13, 2023.


THE Bahamas National Reparations Committee is in support of preparations being made for formal letters to be sent seeking an apology and reparations from the British royal family by the end of the year, as talks on the issue should involve communities not individual nations.

Dr Niambi Hall Campbell-Dean, head of the Bahamian Reparations Committee, said as The Bahamas is a part of the 15-nation CARICOM Reparations Commissions, The Bahamas is in support of moves made by the Caribbean community.

This comes as the CARICOM Reparations Commission prepares to take action seeking an apology and reparations from the British Royal family for its historical involvement in slavery, especially the exploitation of enslaved people in the Caribbean region, hailing from Africa.

According to international reports, the commission is planning, by the end of the year, to send formal letters to Lloyd’s of London and the Church of England with “demands of financial payments and reparative justice for their historic role in the slave trade”.

Dr Hall Campbell-Dean told The Tribune yesterday: “One of the important things to note is that The Bahamas National Reparations Committee, just like the committees in Barbados or Grenada or Guyana or Jamaica, is a member of the larger CARICOM Reparations Commission.

“So, when progress is made, or when the Heirs of Slavery group or the Repair Campaign does an initiative in Guyana, for example, where they had the Gladstone family make an apology and donate $100,000, while that does directly affect Guyana, it overall speaks to the CARICOM reparations commission, because we work as a unit,” she said.

“While that does directly affect the Guyana, it overall speaks to the CARICOM reparations commission, because we work as a unit,” she said.

Both the Heirs of Slavery group and the Repair Campaign follow the lead of the CARICOM Reparations Commission and their aim is getting reparatory justice for the effects of slavery in the Caribbean.

“So when one country is advancing, or getting reparations from non-state actors, that is sort of, you know, a notch in the hat for everyone,” she said.

Last month, the descendants of William Gladstone, the former British Prime Minister and his father John Gladstone, gave a formal apology to the descendants of those enslaved by the family in the past.

According to international reports, Charles Gladstone apologized for his ancestors being enslavers in Guyana, promised to support a department at the Georgetown University and urged the British Royal family to hold talks with the Caribbean Community.

Dr Campbell-Dean said national repatriation committees are of the view that due to the widespread impact of institutions such as the Church of England, or Lloyd’s of London on whole regions, these institutions, would have to hold talks with entire communities, instead of individual countries.

“When we look at issues with the Church of England, or Lloyd’s of London; even though these individual countries might be talking about speaking to the non-state actors, their businesses, specifically, when we think of an institution like the church, affected everyone in the region.

“There was no island within the region in which the Church of England did not have some sort of impact, especially in the English-speaking Caribbean, right.

“So those types of conversations, the church would have to have with everyone within the region. They can’t just say, we’re going to go to Barbados, because we hear Barbados is making noise. No. So that’s how the individual committees are moving.

“You have to do something that recognizes and includes all of us. So that’s where we’re moving right now,” Dr Campbell-Dean said.

Dr Campbell-Dean added that the committee is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to establish programmes and initiatives that will be announced on the committee’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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