Don't stop there, Prince Charles!

Monday, November 12, 2018

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Dear Editor,

The Centre for Reparation Research at The University of the West Indies notes with concern the speech given by HRH The Prince of Wales on November 5, 2018 in Accra, Ghana.

The speech, while flowery and expansive, placed the torture and enslavement of Africans (many of whom were forcefully transported to the Americas in British slavers) for centuries as a mere “profound injustice”.

While Prince Charles spoke of the “most painful chapter of Ghana's relations with the nations of Europe, including the United Kingdom”, nowhere in the speech did he speak of the concrete steps that Europe, including the United Kingdom, will take to fix them. Nowhere did he speak of repairing the harm. He rightly recognised the contributions of Ghanaians to British society and economy, but there is silence around anti-black racism in his country as well as the shame and embarrassment experienced by people (like the Windrush Generation) who were brought to the United Kingdom to work, only to be kicked out after they served their usefulness, the Centre for Reparation Research is confident that Prince Charles' Government can do better. The United Kingdom has the ability to do more than just talk about the “indelible stain” that enslaving Africans and killing them on plantations in the Americas left on history. It has the ability to issue a full apology, compensation, and complete reparation; and if the United Kingdom would like to “robustly promote and defend the values which today make it incomprehensible, to most of us, that human beings could ever treat each other with such utter inhumanity”, then it should find the political will and moral conscience to step up to the plate and promote these values in meaningful ways.

In a year in which the Windrush 'scandal' has helped to propel the issue of compensation for grave injustice to the fore and British universities like Glasgow are seeking to find ways to atone for their association with enslavers.

The Centre for Reparation Research joins the Caricom Reparation Commission and all national committees in the region who have called on the Government of the United Kingdom to engage urgently with the governments and people of our region to begin the process of repair and redress, in keeping with the Ten Point Action Plan elaborated by the commission for Caribbean reparatory justice.

Prince Charles, do not just talk about the pain, commit to repairing it.

Centre for Reparation Research

The University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters

Kingston 7

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