As Royals William and Kate face anti-colonial protests on their Caribbean tour, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves will speak on “The Case for Reparations in the Americas” on March 25.
The topic Gonsalves will speak about could not come at a better time as both in Belize and Jamaica, residents are calling for apology and reparations from the Crown.
On March 25, the OAS Permanent Council will hold a special meeting to commemorate the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
The OAS said it would also broadcast a new podcast series on stories from various people in the hemisphere, “examining the shared heritage of slavery and the continuing struggle against racism”.
The OAS will also hold ‘A Chat with the OAS’, a virtual conversation featuring Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, focusing on The Case for Reparations in the Americas”.
It would appear that people are no longer in the mode to celebrate colonialism across the Caribbean.
For instance, in Belize, Indian Creek residents described the visit as ‘colonialism’ and a ‘slap in the face.
The Mail Online reported that the villagers were particularly outraged that William and Kate’s helicopter was permitted to land on their football field without consultation. The anger is much more profound.
The village of Indian Creek has been in open conflict with Flora and Fauna International, a charity that owns adjoining, contested property. William has been FFI’s patron since 2020, the latest in a line of royals stretching back to George VI.
Villagers are involved in a highly emotional fight against the state and FFI, which works to protect ecosystems worldwide over the rights to lands lost in the colonial era.
In Jamaica, the Vestiges of colonialism also had an unpleasant welcome; scores of Jamaicans gathered outside the British High Commission in St Andrew and protested the official visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the island, a former British colony.
The planned visit of Prince William and Kate was met with intense opposition from locals who cite the role the British monarchy played in slavery and are peeved by the fact that there has never been an official apology and calls for reparations.
We await to see what will happen here in SVG when the royals visit in April, but if the exercise of removing the Queen as head of state in 2009 were an example of our allegiance, I wouldn’t hold my breath for anything spectacular.
Ernesto is a senior journalist with the St. Vincent Times. Having worked in the media for 16 years, he focuses on local and international issues. He has written for the New York Times and reported for the BBC during the La Soufriere eruptions of 2021.