Royal Family faces pressure to acknowledge Britain’s role in enslaving Africans

Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission, Dobrene O’Marde. (File photo)
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The Royal Family is being asked to accept responsibility for the role that Great Britain has played in the enslavement of Africans.

The call was made by Chairman of Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission (ABRSC) Dobrene O’Marde, ahead of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie’s arrival in Antigua and Barbuda today.

The Royal’s Spring Tour launch which is taking place during Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee year has reignited talks on compensation across the Caribbean.

Prince William and his wife Kate recently visited other Caribbean countries including Belize and Jamaica where they faced protests by interest groups demanding for an apology and compensation for slavery.

O’Marde has defended his intention to deliver a strongly worded open letter to Prince Edward and Sophie when he was asked if the timing was appropriate.

He argued that the Caricom Reparations Commission is still in its infancy compared to other global struggles such as the movement against Apartheid in South Africa which lasted almost 80 years.

“Those of us who are presently involved in this struggle, we understand. We are talking marathon here; we’re not talking sprint. What we are seeing now, I don’t think we’ve had a royal visit since this whole reparations issue has virtually become a household name, a household activity across this region,” O’Marde said.

He further stated that the region is approaching the reparations fight with unified thought and approach as the work for slavery to be acknowledged by the British must be continued.

“This is an ideal opportunity. We have a representative from the Crown here in the country. We have been part of what has seriously become an international struggle to get both the Crown and the government of Britain to accept responsibility for the slave trade, slavery, for the genocide of indigenous people in this region, for the deceptive indentureship that they placed on Asians to come to this region just after the Emancipation of African people,” he highlighted.

Prince Edward and his wife Sophie will arrive at the VC Bird International Airport at 9am today. They will have a private conversation with the Cabinet at 10am. Following this meeting, they will be transported to Government House for a celebration of the country’s history and culture featuring art displays, fashion designers, and young people with banners of national symbols.

In the afternoon, the Wessexes will make their way to Sir Vivian Richards Stadium to be presented with commemorative items, and the visit will culminate with a cocktail party at Clarence House before they depart the twin island nation later this evening.

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