‘Slavery was an atrocity,’ says Prince Charles as Barbados becomes republic – .

‘Slavery was an atrocity,’ says Prince Charles as Barbados becomes republic – .

Prince Charles acknowledged the “appalling atrocity of slavery”, describing it as something “that forever sullies our history”, during the ceremony marking Barbados’ historic transition to a republic.
Charles summed up the period when the UK was a major player in the transatlantic slave trade as the “darkest days of our past”, but looking to the future he said that “the creation of this republic offers a new beginning ”.

The prince will be the head of state of many Caribbean nations when he becomes king and his words will resonate throughout the region.

Barbados’ centuries-old ties to the British monarchy were severed just after the clock struck midnight Tuesday morning when the country’s first president, Dame Sandra Mason, was sworn in to replace the Queen as head of the state at an outdoor televised ceremony in the capital Bridgetown.

In a message to the President and people of Barbados, the Queen extended her “warmest wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity in the future” to the new republic and praised the nation which has a “special place” in its heart for “its vibrant culture, sporting prowess and natural beauty”.

The 95-year-old has been the head of state of Barbados since gaining independence in 1966 and said he was happy the country continued to be part of the Commonwealth.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK and Barbados will remain “steadfast friends and allies” with “a partnership built to last”.

The heir to the throne witnessed this symbolic moment when the Queen’s standard was last lowered and the Presidential flag hoisted in its place at midnight local time on November 30, on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of independence from Great Britain.

“From the darkest days of our past and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever sullies our history, the people of this island have forged their way with extraordinary strength. ”


Charles told guests, including Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley and pop star Rihanna, who was appointed ambassador for her home country, Barbados in 2018, that: “The creation of this Republic offers a new start, but it also marks a point on a continuum, a milestone on the long road that you have not only traveled, but built.

“From the darkest days of our past and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever sullies our history, the people of this island have forged their way with extraordinary strength.

“Emancipation, self-government and independence were your benchmarks. Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides.

“Your long journey has brought you to this moment, not as your destination, but as a point of view from which to survey a new horizon. “

His words echo a speech he gave during a tour of West Africa in 2018 when, after visiting a site in Ghana where Africans were forced into a brutal and murderous forced labor regime, he described the slave trade as an “indelible stain” on the world.

There have been protests planned in the run-up to the ceremony with activists in Barbados demanding an apology and reparations from the British monarchy and government for slavery; On top of that, activists have questioned Prince Charles’ involvement in tonight’s nomination.

Previous monarchs supported or made money through the transport and sale of people for profit during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Queen and New President of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason

(Getty Images)

Referring to protests and discontent targeting the British monarchy, British High Commissioner to Barbados Scott Furssedonn-Wood said The independent: “It is obviously an independent country, a dynamic democracy of open society, freedom of the press and freedom of expression – so it is good that there is a lively debate and it is right that people can express their opinions.

“It’s important, as the country transitions, that people talk about the things that matter to them, the things that can get them excited, but also the things that can make them angry and worry.

“This is how democracies work, so people should be free to express these opinions, it is a sign of healthy debate. “

On reparations, however, and appeals to the prince to apologize for the monarchy’s role in slavery, the commissioner was less explicit.

“The strength of the sentiment will be evident in the prince’s speech; it is a feeling that he has already expressed and will continue to do. As an individual, the prince has a long history of advocacy for inclusion, just societies, opportunities for all in the UK and other places he has been.

“It’s not just him pulling out a sentence, it’s something he believes very passionately in himself – that you have to recognize injustices where you see them, but you have to find practical ways to respond. to the here and now and build a better future. He plays his part in this.

“It is quite right that we express our deep sorrow for this appalling atrocity of slavery and the incredible suffering that has been caused; I can see that it still creates a very powerful sense of injustice here in the Caribbean and in other parts of the world as well, ”he said.

“We need to recognize this and make sure that people don’t forget what happened, that every generation of young people understands this aspect of the past so that we make sure that modern slavery in all its forms can no longer never happen again.

“The past has been, in many ways, a very dark time and should never be repeated. “


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