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Last updated: 01 December, 2006 - Published 16:41 GMT
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Should the UK apologise?
Tony Blair
Should Tony have apologised for Britain's involvement in the slave trade?
Read more of the reactions to our Have Your Say question: Should Britain apologise for its involvement in the slave trade?


No apology is necessary to anybody! I know what the British did in the pass was wrong. They were a big part of slave trade. The British economy was built by the lives of slaves. But look at the other side of it. What if the British did not take our forefathers and mothers, to the Caribbean? We might still be in Africa or India? We might not have had we have now in the Caribbean: a good life, way better than Africa or India. So let forget, forgive and move on.
T Ramjewan
Port of Spain, Trinidad

An apology will certainly be quite nice coming from Britain after all these years following the abolition of that brutal slave era.
On the other hand, what about the African chiefs who allowed themselves to be tricked by the British into ultimately selling us off into slavery? Will their descendents also give us an apology? Preferably just before Britain makes hers!
P Gowrie

Correct! They do owe us a lot more than an apology. We are owed repatriation, culture, roots & the wealth that was stolen from us.
D Allen
North Side, Grand Cayman

If he is so sorry for the heart ache this is what he can do for us here in the Caribbean: we have been mentally set back because of their oppression so they could fund education so that no more children have to drop out of school because there parents can't afford the school fee. That would be a good start if he is so sorry.
C Morris
Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Even in this day & age, black people are still treated as 2nd class citizens. It will never change....
M Benjamin
London, UK

The destruction of the lives of Africans and the lives of their descendants will forever remain the ultimate sin that seals the British fate as an evil empire. Black people in the Caribbean should demand to be compensated for such a despicable act committed against their ancestors. Britain owes us.
H Adams
New York City, USA

Please, remember slavery was the world investment based on profits to all those involved, nations, businesses, institutions, merchants, traders, families and individuals. The Africans provided all the wealth to all those who were participators. The world owes us, the descendants of a people reduced to be slaves against their will.
It is not only Britain, but all who were involved with their descendants, and still benefiting from the enslaved Africans and their descendants. It has been too long waiting for apologies and reparation. That's not enough. We must not negate the facts of what had happen to the Africans enslavement. We still bear the scars.
K Hutchinson
York, Canada

Absolutely not! Why should Britain apologise for something that her forefathers have done? The Caribbean gains nothing, and Britain only stands to lose by opening old wounds. I say let it be and work so that nothing of its magnitude happens again.
P Johnson
Saba, Netherlands Antilles

I think people should just let the past stay in the past. How far back should we go? Does the Jewish nation still cry out at the Romans? Let’s assume that a monetary compensation (far fetched idea) will be handed out. How much will they give to the mixed African/White, African/Indian, Indian/White etc. How much does my Chinese side get??? It will be a can of worms. If Britain pays, the money will come from the tax payers, are there any folks there we know?
R Jaeranny
Brampton, Canada

The UK is responsible for almost all Third World slavery.
Everywhere they found treasures, they took over the country, our treasures, our countries. Apologies? Where would they begin?
Mashpee, USA

The apology must be followed by actions that signify just how deep his sorrow lies. We are talking about one of the greatest crimes against humanity the world has ever witnessed and until significant actions or taken to rectify the grave wrongs done to my people by the so called civilized, the holocaust indeed continues.
D Tyler
California USA

An apology is required although it has no meaning without penitence.
The British Empire - and Britain as a nation - was built on the profits of slavery.
Many British Cities were established because of the trade and most of the elegant buildings that adorn those and other cities such as London were built from the profits of slavery.
An apology should also be given for the indentured system which followed in 1834 and lasted up until 1917 in which many thousands (mainly from India) were also enslaved in the Caribbean and elsewhere.
Both Afro and Indo-Caribbeans are the descendents of those who were abused by these systems.
Britain should invest in the Caribbean nations and help them out of poverty as they owe them a big favour!
J Budhram
Sutton, England

Present governments should not be held liable for reparations of an act that occurred 200 years ago anymore than our grandchildren should be held accountable for the atrocities of World War II. An apology should suffice.
N Rhoads
San Francisco USA


Some say it’s a trade, but it turned out to be

Large scale abduction of people…for free

An African ‘swap’ for guns and cheap wares in

Vessels from Benin for too many years…

England now issues an apology

Rather too late now, to say you’re sorry…

Yet I’m still watching and waiting to see…

Discourse from ‘tribesmen’ who look just like me

About your involvement in brutality…

Zonal entrapment in a cave and abyss…

Enhancing divisions and actions remiss…


Absolutely, and so what if descendants of slaves seek compensation, they should be able to. Britain's wealth and current economic status was built on the backs of slaves, both directly and indirectly and as such it (Britain) has a moral responsibility to own up to its part in slavery.
Rio Claro, Trinidad

Yes I personally believe that Britain does owe us the African descendants something other than an apology. Like, for example, citizenship. It would make perfect sense.


I am now 51 years old. Well adjusted, I guess, having lived in the UK for a number of years.
To what benefit is the apology?
Psychologically, I hope that I have not suffered as the result of the lack of an apology.
Who were we bought from?
As Caribbean people we need to move on.
We need to make it better for our children by being more efficient and productive.
If it makes Tony Blair feel a better person. Good luck to him.
We will continue to welcome him and his family in Barbados.
St. Philip, Barbados

As a Caribbean national of African descent, there is no question in my mind that an unequivocal apology is the least that is due from the UK government for the role it played in the transatlantic slave trade. The approach of the British PM suggests that he is trivializing or simply doesn't understand the historical or continuing impact of slavery or the slave trade on generations of slaves and their descendants. While an apology can never be adequate to redress this crime against humanity, it is at least at start. Problem is that those that benefited from slavery (and their descendants like Tony Blair), perhaps are yet to see the victims of the slave trade as members of humanity.
H Sobers
Washington, DC

An apology in words will suffice, but an apology in actions is preferred.

Britain should indeed apologize for her involvement in the slave trade. The British economy was built by the lives of my forefathers and mothers. They have ravished the African continent of its resources and people and should begin to allow reparations for the descendants of Africans.
D Bogle
Kingston, Jamaica

No apology is necessary to anybody! England agreed to Emancipation which took effect in August 1834 and the slaves received certain benefits (in essence to reparations). Today English Caribbean nations have prospered whereby most are independent nations. England again granted the nations their Independence. So that apology could get rather complicated.
K Isaac
Carlisle Estate, Antigua & Barbuda

I think apologising is not enough. We deserve more than a simple apology.
O Cuevas
Montego Bay, Jamaica

The British made billions from over 400 years of slavery throughout their colonies. These slaves were treated worse than animals, beaten, tortured, raped and millions died in brutal living conditions. I am disgusted that Britain, America and the rest of Europe dismiss their profiteering and ugly history of slavery so easily. This was nothing less than a holocaust of African and Asian peoples … The racism inherent in the Establishment who profited from slavery is still there.
I do agree that Britain should apologise for their involvement in the slave trade and yes descendants should compensated.
Toronto, Canada

I think it (an apology) would be appropriate.
C Browne
Jacksonville, U S

I have lived in Canada from St Lucia for the past 30 years. I do not want any money but an apology would help.
G Mercier
Manitoba, Canada

As the great-grandson of a slave, I think we have long past this inferiority complex. Apologies mean very little.
O Robertson
Georgia, USA

An apology should be sufficient. Africans in the Caribbean have today’s issues to deal with rather than dwelling in the past, for example running their own affairs and coping with modern societal issues; to which I may add that they are doing very well.
K Ali
Toronto, Canada

So what do you think? Should Britain unequivocally apologise for its involvement in the slave trade? Are the descendants of slaves owed more than an apology?
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