A slavery reparations campaigner called the ‘British oligarchs’ the Earl and Countess of Wessex and said he was ‘disappointed’ that their visit to Grenada had been cancelled.
Edward and Sophie have postponed their trip to Grenada – meant to be part of a seven-day Caribbean tour to mark 70 years of the Queen’s reign.
The couple received a red carpet as they arrived in St Vincent and the Grenadines on Saturday but, despite the pomp and ceremony, the royal tour was greeted with renewed calls for reparations for the slave trade and the past British colonial.
Arley Gill, chairman of Grenada’s National Reparations Committee – which is calling for a formal apology for slavery and far-reaching reparations, said he and others had requested an audience with the royal couple via the Governor-General, but were “disappointed” the Granada leg of their tour was cancelled.
Activists had hoped to present a reparations plan and discuss the matter face-to-face, although a meeting was never arranged.
“We of the National Reparations Committee, on hearing that these British Oligarchs have traveled to Grenada, have written to the Governor General, the Queen’s representative here in Grenada, to have an audience with the Earl and Countess of Wessex to discuss about reparations. “, he said.
“So in a way we’re a little disappointed that they’re not coming, so we can’t have this conversation with them.”
Mr Gill said he and others had also planned to stage protests to draw attention to the reparations issue and said he stood by comments made to The Times that they had paid the visit “rather uncomfortable”.
“As you will have observed when Prince William and Kate Middleton visited Jamaica, I don’t think they were comfortable at all, I don’t think the British monarchy is comfortable with the topic of reparations to begin with because so far they have failed to apologize to us black people, African descendants, for the part they played in the slave trade and slavery in the Atlantic,” he added.
The negative response to the royal visit comes after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge encountered protests demanding repairs during their tour of the region in March.
The couple have also been accused of being ‘tone deaf’ after they were seen shaking hands with crowds behind a wire mesh fence in Kingston, Jamaica, and footage of the couple at the back of a Land Rover have been denounced as reminiscent of the colonial era. .
William expressed his “deep sadness” at the forced transport of millions of people from Africa to the Caribbean and North America and echoed the words of his father, the Prince of Wales, in describing the slave trade as an “appalling atrocity” that “defiles”. our story” in a speech during the visit.
But the rhetoric has been called “false moralism” by campaigners who have called for the “mantra” not to be repeated in an open letter to the Earl and Countess.
It comes amid growing anti-colonial sentiment in the Caribbean.
Barbados replaced the Queen as head of state in November and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness has also suggested his country could be next to become a republic.
The Duke of Cambridge has also previously acknowledged that the days of the monarchy in the Caribbean may be numbered as he said the future “is for the people to decide”.
The British Royal Family have been involved in transporting and selling people for profit for centuries, with Elizabeth I getting involved in the lucrative dealings of John Hawkins, one of Britain’s first slave traders in the sixteenth century.
When her first adventure was successful and her ships returned laden with goods, she supported her future expeditions by providing ships to carry the human cargo.
The links between the royal family and slavery continued with Charles II, who encouraged the expansion of the slave trade.
He chartered a group of men, the Royal Adventurers, which later became the Royal African Company – and the monarch and Duke of York invested their private funds in the enterprise.