'Sorry is not enough', Caribbean states say of British slavery apologies

British financial institutions that benefited from slavery such as Lloyd's of London should go further than saying sorry for their role in the Atlantic slave trade and atone for their sins by funding Caribbean development, the region's countries said.

More than 10 million Africans were shackled into the Atlantic slave trade by European nations between the 15th and 19th centuries. Those who survived the often brutal voyage, ended up toiling on plantations in the Americas.

While the history of Europe's scramble for African slaves has been widely known for centuries, the death of George Floyd in the United States has prompted a sweeping global reassessment of racism and the financing of the slave trade.

The Lloyd's of London insurance market apologised on Thursday for its "shameful" role in the 18th Century Atlantic slave trade and pledged to fund opportunities for black and ethnic minority people.

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OXFORD, June 10, 2020 -- Demonstrators take part in a protest demanding Oxford University to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes outside Oriel College in Oxford, Britain on June 9, 2020. According to local media, hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in Oxford to call for a statue of Cecil Rhodes to be pulled down, following the toppling of a statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston during a protest in Bristol last Sunday. (Photo by Ray Tang/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)
OXFORD, UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/06/09: Cecil Rhodes statue stands at the front facade of the Oriel College in Oxford during the protest. Cecil was an English-born businessman, mining magnate, and politician in South Africa. The founder of the diamond company De Beers and the founder of the state of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) , which was named after him. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign was reignited from a 2016 campaign following recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations after the demise of George Floyd under police custody in Mineapolis. Despite the Covid19 lockdown, protesters globally have united to demand change. (Photo by David Mbiyu/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Demonstrators gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, United Kingdom. The death of George Floyd in the U.S. last May 25, in Minneapolis, at the hands of police, has unleashed protests for racial justice and against police brutality in cities around the world. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Demonstrators gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, United Kingdom. The death of George Floyd in the U.S. last May 25, in Minneapolis, at the hands of police, has unleashed protests for racial justice and against police brutality in cities around the world. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
OXFORD, June 10, 2020-- Demonstrators take part in a protest demanding Oxford University to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes outside Oriel College in Oxford, Britain on June 9, 2020. According to local media, hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in Oxford to call for a statue of Cecil Rhodes to be pulled down, following the toppling of a statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston during a protest in Bristol last Sunday. (Photo by Ray Tang/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Demonstrators gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, United Kingdom. The death of George Floyd in the U.S. last May 25, in Minneapolis, at the hands of police, has unleashed protests for racial justice and against police brutality in cities around the world. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Police officers guard the statue of imperialist Cecil Rhodes statue as demonstrators gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, United Kingdom. The death of George Floyd in the U.S. last May 25, in Minneapolis, at the hands of police, has unleashed protests for racial justice and against police brutality in cities around the world. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Demonstration placards are placed outside Oriel College near to statue of imperialist Cecil Rhodes statue as demonstrators gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, United Kingdom. The death of George Floyd in the U.S. last May 25, in Minneapolis, at the hands of police, has unleashed protests for racial justice and against police brutality in cities around the world. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: The statue of imperialist Cecil Rhodes statue is seen as demonstrators gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, United Kingdom. The death of George Floyd in the U.S. last May 25, in Minneapolis, at the hands of police, has unleashed protests for racial justice and against police brutality in cities around the world. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Demonstrators gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, United Kingdom. The death of George Floyd in the U.S. last May 25, in Minneapolis, at the hands of police, has unleashed protests for racial justice and against police brutality in cities around the world. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: A plaque dedicated to Cecil Rhodes in King Edward Street, adjacent to University of Oxford's Oriel College on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, England. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protest outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Demonstrators gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, England. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Demonstrators gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, England. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Police officers stand guard outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, England. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Police officers stand guard outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, England. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Demonstrators gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, England. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Demonstrators gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, England. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Demonstrators gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, England. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. Cecil Rhodes was a British businessman and politician in South Africa, who served as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony from 1890 to 1896. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Police during a protest calling for the removal of the statue of 19th century imperialist, politician Cecil Rhodes from an Oxford college which has reignited amid anti-racism demonstrations. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
People during a protest calling for the removal of the statue of 19th century imperialist, politician Cecil Rhodes from an Oxford college which has reignited amid anti-racism demonstrations. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
People during a protest calling for the removal of the statue of 19th century imperialist, politician Cecil Rhodes from an Oxford college which has reignited amid anti-racism demonstrations. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Demonstrators hold placards during a protest arranged by the 'Rhodes Must Fall' campaign, calling for the removal of a statue of British businessman and imperialist Cecil John Rhodes, from outside Oriel College at the University of Oxford in Oxford, west of London on June 9, 2020. - Thousands of people on Tuesday called for a statue of the 19th century British imperialist Cecil Rhodes to be removed from an Oxford University college, as debate raged across the country for the removal of other monuments to the nation's colonial past. Protesters chanted "Take it down!" and "Decolonise!", and held placards urging "Rhodes Must Fall" and "Black Lives Matter" in front of the statue at Oriel College. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Demonstrators hold placards during a protest arranged by the 'Rhodes Must Fall' campaign, calling for the removal of a statue of British businessman and imperialist Cecil John Rhodes, from outside Oriel College at the University of Oxford in Oxford, west of London on June 9, 2020. - Thousands of people on Tuesday called for a statue of the 19th century British imperialist Cecil Rhodes to be removed from an Oxford University college, as debate raged across the country for the removal of other monuments to the nation's colonial past. Protesters chanted "Take it down!" and "Decolonise!", and held placards urging "Rhodes Must Fall" and "Black Lives Matter" in front of the statue at Oriel College. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Demonstrators hold placards during a protest calling for the removal of a statue of British businessman and imperialist Cecil John Rhodes, from outside Oriel College at the University of Oxford in Oxford, west of London on June 9, 2020. - Following the toppling of slave trader Edward Colston during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol on June 6, the Rhodes Must Fall campaign has called for a protest action outside Oriel College, University of Oxford where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes is mounted on the wall. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Mounted police is seen as demonstrators gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, England. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Demonstrators hold placards during a protest arranged by the 'Rhodes Must Fall' campaign, calling for the removal of a statue of British businessman and imperialist Cecil John Rhodes, from outside Oriel College at the University of Oxford in Oxford, west of London on June 9, 2020. - Following the toppling of slave trader Edward Colston during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol on June 6, the Rhodes Must Fall campaign has called for a protest action outside Oriel College, University of Oxford where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes is mounted on the wall. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: A demonstrators raises his fist opposite the Cecil John Rhodes statue as people gather outside University of Oxford's Oriel College during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, England. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People during a protest calling for the removal of the statue of 19th century imperialist, politician Cecil Rhodes from an Oxford college which has reignited amid anti-racism demonstrations. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Participants gather during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign calling for the removal of the statue of British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes outside Oriel College, at the University of Oxford on June 9, 2020. - Following the toppling of slave trader Edward Colston during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol on June 6, the Rhodes Must Fall campaign has called for a protest action outside Oriel College, University of Oxford where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes is mounted on the wall. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Participants gather during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign calling for the removal of the statue of British imperialist Cecil John Rhodes outside Oriel College, at the University of Oxford on June 9, 2020. - Following the toppling of slave trader Edward Colston during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol on June 6, the Rhodes Must Fall campaign has called for a protest action outside Oriel College, University of Oxford where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes is mounted on the wall. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: A demonstrators holds a placard reading "Rhodes must go" during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, England. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Demonstrators hold placards during a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, England. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign protests outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A protester in front of Oriel College, Oxford, beneath the statue of Cecil Rhodes, during a protest calling for the removal of the statue of 19th century imperialist, politician Cecil Rhodes from the Oxford college which has reignited amid anti-racism demonstrations. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
OXFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: The Rhodes statue on the facade of Oriel College, Oxford, prior to a protest called by the Rhodes Must Fall campaign on June 09, 2020 in Oxford, England. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign are to protest outside University of Oxford's Oriel College where a statue of imperialist Cecil John Rhodes looks out over the High Street and the college's front door. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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But a regional alliance of Caribbean countries said that Britain's institutions should go much further than simply apologising and give some of the wealth back to the Caribbean by funding development at the epicentre of the slave trade.

"It is not enough to say sorry," said Hilary Beckles, chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission which was set up by Caribbean countries to seek reparations from former colonial powers such as the United Kingdom, France and Portugal.

"We are not asking for anything as mendicant as handing out cheques to people on street corners," Beckles told Reuters from Jamaica. "The issue of money is secondary, but in this instance the moral discharge of one's duty does require in a market economy that you contribute towards development."

There was no immediate reply from Lloyd's of London to a request for comment.

NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT

Beckles, a Barbadian historian, said the antecedents of many British and European banks, as well as an array of accompanying institutions in the City of London, "drank from the well of Caribbean slavery".

The Bank of England apologised for what it called the "inexcusable connections" of some past governors and directors to slavery, and said it would remove any portraits of them from display anywhere on its premises.

The history of several other British financial firms, including Barclays, is also under fresh scrutiny.

"Unfortunately, one cannot go back and remake the history but you can make atonement: it is not enough to make your apology as a public spectacle, it is not enough to present it as public relations exercise," said Beckles.

"It is not about public relations - it is about a negotiated settlement whereby everyone finds closure within a moral framework," he said. "To say sorry and issue a press release is disrespectful - it does not fly with the people who were victimized."

British institutions, he said, should sit down with Caribbean nations to fund development projects - or even consider a sort of "Marshall Plan" to give some of the plundered wealth back - a reference to the US aid given to Europe after the destruction of World War Two.

"The British legacy of slavery and colonalisation has left the black community in quite a mess," Beckles said, adding that he was not calling for litigation of any kind.

"All the institutions that created this mess really have to come and help in practical ways to clean it up."

On Britain's broader reassessment of its past, Beckles said public consciousness was catching up with history.

"Public consciousness is catching up with history: that moment has come. British public morality has caught up with its own institutional history of slavery."

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