BBC World Service – The Documentary, Grenada: Confronting the past

Grenada: Confronting the past

The Documentary

BBC World News anchor Laura Trevelyan discovered her family’s slave owning past only after the University College London database of slave ownership in the British Caribbean was published in 2013. Back in the 18th Century, the Trevelyan family were known as absentee slave owners on Grenada. The family never set foot on the island, but owned hundreds of slaves and profited for years from the sale of sugar harvested from five different sugar cane plantations.

To try and learn more about the legacy of slavery on Grenada and her family’s involvement in the slave trade, Laura Trevelyan and her producer Koralie Barrau go to Grenada. Koralie is descended from slaves on the Caribbean island of Haiti, so this was an intense trip for her, personally and professionally. Laura and Koralie visit the plantations, and learn about how slaves were brutalised and tortured. They are guided by the historian and administrator at the University of the West Indies, Dr Nicole Phillip Dowe, and the Grenadian historical novelist DC Campbell.

Grenada’s national commission on reparations for slavery has begun to meet and debate what reparations means. Laura interviews the chair of Grenada’s reparations commission, Arley Gill, to find out about the reparations Grenada is seeking from the former colonial powers of France and Britain.

Finally, Laura tries to find the ancestors of slaves once owned by her family – a journey which takes her to the heart of Grenada’s capital St George’s.

Presenter: Laura Trevelyan
Producer: Koralie Barrau

(Photo: Hands holding iron shackles. Credit: Mixel Inc)

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