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The Earl And Countess Of Wessex Received With Protest During Royal Trip To The Caribbean Region
Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex and his wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, were received with protest demanding reparations for British colonialism on the second leg of their Caribbean tour, Daily Mail reported. The Earl and Countess of Wessex’s royal trip to the Caribbean region coincide with the celebration of Elizabeth II’s jubilee, which commemorates the 70th anniversary of the British throne.
The couple’s visit to three Caribbean countries – Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda – is part of the royal family’s program to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This royal trip to the Caribbean region follows a controversial tour by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last month to the same region.
On their visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, last Saturday, Edward and Sophie initially received a cordial welcome, but a group of about 15 protesters displayed banners as they made their way to the island’s government headquarters on Saturday, Daily Mail said.
Banners with the sayings “End of Colonialism” could be seen at the moment of the arrival of the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
As Daily Mail reported, protesters want to create a Republic state, removing the Queen as head of state of their islands. Also, they demand reparations and apologies from The Unite Kingdom for its historical ‘crimes against humanity”, referring to the role of the transatlantic slave trade as well as the colonialism past in those Caribbean islands.
The protests in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Saturday follow warnings from the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Committee. In an open letter to them, the organization said: “We have heard the false reverence from your predecessors that these crimes are a ‘stain on your history’. For us, they are the source of genocide and the continuation of deep international harm, injustice and racism.”
Other voices against the presence of the Earl and Countess of Wessex were heard. Jomo Thomas, former chairman of the National Reparations Committee, told Daily Mail that people protested to show their disagreement towards their governments that had decided to welcome the ‘invaders’.
The reception for the couple was initially cordial, and a bouquet of flowers was presented by elementary school student Ashley Church.
“Edward and his entourage should not be fêted in our land. They hunted us down, they kidnapped us, they stole us, they worked us. They owe us and they must now pay us.”
Antigua and Barbuda wants to move away from the British Monarchy and become a republic
The Earl and Countess of Wessex visited Antigua and Barbuda before SVG and despite they were not received with protests, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Brown, expressed to Edward and Sofia the desire for the Caribbean territory to become a republic and distance itself from the British Crown. Brown told the Earls of Wessex that his country’s wish is “one day to become a republic.
Brown’s comments to members of the British royal family come shortly after Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine, last March that his country was on course to become a republic.
The Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Philip Davis, also suggested during this trip by Edward and Sofia that the Atlantic archipelago is considering retaining Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.
Although he said that the country would like to change its relationship with London one day, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda acknowledged that it is not an urgent priority.
Brown commented, however, to the Earls of Wessex to exert their influence in order to obtain “restorative justice” for Antigua and Barbuda for the slavery suffered by the ancestors of its present inhabitants.
“They left us [the British] and deprived us of modern institutions, such as universities and medical facilities,” said Brown about the European country’s departure from the region without having first built the basic infrastructure.