Slave trader's descendant would 'so gladly' tear down his statues

8 January 2022, 19:08 | Updated: 8 January 2022, 20:03

By Tim Dodd

This descendant of the Caribbean coloniser Sir Thomas Warner told LBC he would be "so glad" to tear down any statues that exist of him, adding he would be "instrumental in that myself".

The caller, Mark, said he was a descendant of Sir Thomas Warner, who was known for establishing the West Indies island Saint Kitts as the first English colony in the Caribbean in 1624.

His comments come in the wake of the acquittal of the "Colston Four", who were on trial for the toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol in 2020.

Attorney General Suella Braverman has said she is "carefully considering" whether the case should be sent to the Court of Appeal.

Mark told Andrew Pierce: "Unfortunately my family stands on the wrong side of history, because my ancestor, back in 1623, was the first coloniser of the West Indies and his son, having destroyed the original inhabitants - massacared them - introduced the West Indian slave trade. 

"So our family has a lot to answer for, and I do believe we have a responsibility."

When asked if he was ashamed about it, Mark replied: "Absolutely, not personally, but for what our family did.

"And I would be so glad, if there were any statues to Thomas Warner... to see them pulled down, and I would be instrumental in that myself."

Eight generations of the Warner family imported slaves to work on their tobacco and sugar plantations in the Caribbean. Following the abolition of the slave trade, the family was heavily compensated for its losses.

"In this country, we're governed not just by statutes, but by case law," he continued.

"And I believe a judge is right to give directions to a jury to weigh the whole moral and personal consequences on citizens of Bristol and of this country, as to the implications of a statue standing there.

"I believe our Attorney General is wrong to say they should be investigating it. This is our English law and it's being applied in the right way and has had the right results."