Protesters use royal visit to call for reparations – iWitness News

The Authorities of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, on Saturday, rolled out the pink carpet in welcome to the British Monarchy, at the same time as a small group of protesters registered their objection to the go to and known as for reparation for African slavery.

At Argyle Worldwide Airport, The Earl and Countess of Wessex — Prince Andrew, 58, and his spouse, Sophie, 57 — have been greeted by Montgomery Daniel, appearing prime minister, who’s of Garifuna descent.

Additionally welcoming the Wessexes was Opposition Chief Godwin Friday and different authorities and opposition lawmakers.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who feted Princes William and Harry throughout a go to in 2016, missed this yr’s tour — in celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II — as he was receiving medical consideration in Venezuela.

Whereas the sound of metal pan welcomed the royals outdoors the airport, it was chants of “Reparations now!” that rang out in Diamond, the place Prince Andrew watched races amongst athletes making ready for the Commonwealth Video games, to be held in Birmingham this summer season.

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The small group of protesters stated Britain ought to pay for its function within the African slave commerce.

“The African holocaust is one of the greatest holocausts, if not the greatest holocaust,” Idesha Jackson, 47, instructed iWitness News.

She stated that whereas some folks may not agree, “we all know what our forefathers went by; it’s in our DNA.

“We feel their pain and every time I talk about African brothers and sisters who had to struggle for survival in these ships and work for many years — 400 years of slavery — and still up to this day, we are not compensated.”

Jackson famous that on the finish of the slave commerce, it was the slave masters, reasonably than the slaves who have been compensated.

“So, today, we are still standing firm in the cause of reparation. Reparations now! Reparations now!  Reparations now!  No more idle talk,” she stated.

“I am here to demonstrate, to show my disgust, my disappointment, my vengeance for my bothers and sisters … who, over 400 years had to suffer the slave masters’ whip, the slave masters’ rape and  brutal dehumanisation of our people.  So I am here to stand up for those persons and seek from Britain reparations now.”

She stated some folks may argue that slavery was authorized and permitted when it occurred.

“Our African brothers and sisters were never permitted to be enslaved. So the wrong was done against a sector of the human race by another and this wrong must be compensated.”

Jomo Thomas, a former chair of the nationwide reparations committee, was among the many protesters.

“We just wanted to indicate, represent, manifest our disgust, our disdain and our concern that the neo-colonial government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines would again, yet again, be welcoming and celebrating these people,” stated Thomas, a former authorities senator and Speaker of the Home of Meeting

He stated that beneath the Royal African Constitution, the British have been “responsible for the hunting down, kidnapping and transshipment of 60% of all of the Africans who were taken from the African continent”.

Thomas famous that for tons of of years, Europeans pressured Africans to work with out pay.

“… they owe us and they must now pay us, as this sign is indicating,” he stated, referring to the big “Reparations now” banner that he and one other protester have been holding.

“Reparations now is the demand, reparations now is the call,” he stated and expressed hope that extra Vincentians be part of the decision for reparations

“… this is not so much for the colonials who are coming in but to raise the consciousness of our people, that the call for reparation is a just cause and a just demand and we will fight until we achieve that.”

Reparations Protest 2
Protesters used the royal go to on Saturday, April 23, 2022, to name for reparations for the slave commerce.

In London and different European capitals that had colonised within the Caribbean, governments have dismissed the reparations name, saying that present generations shouldn’t be held chargeable for acts dedicated by their forebears.

Thomas, nevertheless, stated that it was solely in 2015 that the British authorities completed repaying the 20 million kilos it borrowed in 1831 to compensate slave homeowners in preparation for the top of slavery.

“So if they finished paying in 2015, the argument that slavery is remote is nonsensical, it is farcical,” stated Thomas, a lawyer and newspaper columnist.

“Slavery is alive and well. It is alive and well in the underdevelopment of our people; in the fact that so many of our people are captured by a neo-colonial European mind-set and we can only emancipate ourselves from mental slavery if we understand that the struggle for reparation is an integral part of freeing ourselves, or regaining our patrimony.”

Judah, 33, of Pembroke, a neighborhood six miles north west of the capital, echoed comparable views, telling iWitness News:

“Once we say reparation, it’s not simply cash. We would like restore for the entire injury that has been performed to our folks in all of the areas of human exercise: economics, training, leisure, faith, intercourse, battle, politics, labour.

“The earth is suffering; people are suffering. This is what you all have done. The damage, we want it repaired. This is what this stands for,” he stated, referring to the slogan on his placard.”

Theo Thomas, 69, of Lowmans Hill, noticed the royal go to as the federal government becoming a member of within the exploitation of the folks.

“I came out here because it’s a shame that a so-called progressive government would be using our people as props to entertain members of the Royal Family and there has been no conversation about reparations,” stated Thomas who travelled 11 miles from the western aspect of St. Vincent to the protest web site.

“The Royal Family is in the position where they are today because of the pillage of our country and the enslavement of our ancestors,” he stated.

He famous that Grenada had rejected the royal go to, and speculated that the true motive was due to the calls for for reparations there.

“And so, for this so-called progressive government to be entertaining these people using these people as props is a crying shame,” Thomas instructed iWitness News.

SVG is a constitutional monarchy, with the queen because the ceremonial head of state, represented by the Governor Common, Dame Susan Dougan.

Dougan was the primary to be launched to Prince Edward and Sophie on the airport on Saturday.

Protesters Used The Royal Visit On Saturday, April 23, 2022, To Call For Reparations For The Slave Trade.
Protesters used the royal go to on Saturday, April 23, 2022, to name for reparations for the slave commerce.

The British Monarch continues to be the top of state in SVG as a result of in 2009, electors voted in a referendum to maintain the British monarch.

However Jomo Thomas cautioned in opposition to utilizing this as a sign of help for the monarchy.

Political observers have stated that the constitutional reform vote 13 years in the past was a referendum on the Ralph Gonsalves administration and electors may need voted otherwise, if given an opportunity to vote on particular person parts of the Structure.   

Thomas, who in 2009 campaigned in help of the modifications to the Structure, echoed this view on Saturday

“… should you lock your self right into a political dialog, you could wish to hearken to the foolishness that’s offered plenty of time by the Unity Labour Social gathering administration and their supporters that we had an opportunity [to vote on whether to keep the monarchy].

“So many other things were involved in that reform — things that people voted against. If the vote only had to do with the monarchy, maybe people would have voted ‘yes’.  There was a whole package and people rejected the package,” he stated.

He, nevertheless, famous that 43% of the voters supported the proposed modifications to the Structure.

Throughout their go to, Sophie spoke to girls in management roles in regards to the neighborhood’s response to the April 2021 eruption of La Soufriere volcano.

The Wessexes congratulated those that have just lately accomplished their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and watched a part of a 10-10 cricket match.

They planted a tree on the Botanical Gardens in Kingstown, the oldest within the Western Hemisphere, and met privately with the appearing prime minister.

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