Charles expected to acknowledge ‘atrocity of slavery’ as Barbados becomes a republic

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The Prince of Wales is expected to acknowledge the “horrific tyranny of slavery” during a ceremony marking the historic transformation of Barbados into the republic, describing it as “staining our history forever”. .

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Charles would sum the period when Britain was one of the leading players in the transatlantic slave trade as “the darkest days of our past”, but looks to the future, adding that “the creation of this republic provided a new beginning”. .

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

The Prince of Wales received his last ceremonial welcome as Prince of Barbados upon arrival in the country on Sunday (Jonathan Brady/PA) , PA Wire

Barbados’ ties with the centuries-old British monarchy were torn apart when the country’s first president, Dame Sandra Mason, was sworn in as head of state during a televised open-air ceremony in the capital Bridgetown .

In a message to the President and the people of Barbados, the Queen sent the new republic “heartfelt wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity in the future” and praised the nation for which it holds a “special place” in its heart. Vibrant culture, its sportsmanship and its natural beauty”.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK and Barbados would remain “permanent friends and allies”, adding that “a partnership will remain”.

The heir to the throne witnessed the symbolic moment as the Queen’s standard was lowered for the last time and the presidential flag was unfurled at midnight local time on 30 November, the 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.

Charles is expected to tell guests including Prime Minister Mia Motley of Barbados and singer Rihanna: “The creation of this republic provides a new beginning, but it also marks a point on a continuum, a mile on that long road.” The stone of which you have not only traveled, but which you have built.

“From the darkest days of our past, and the horrific tyranny of slavery that forever stains our history, the people of this island made their way with extraordinary courage.

“Liberation, self-government and independence were your way-points.

“Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides.

“Your long journey has led you to this moment, not as your destination, but as a vantage point from which to survey a new horizon.”

His words echoed a speech he gave during a tour of West Africa in 2018, when, after visiting a site in Ghana where Africans were sent to a life of slavery, he described the “slave trade” on the world. Indelible stain”.

The celebrations have sparked protests in Barbados with activists demanding an apology and reparations from the monarchy and the UK government for slavery.

During the 17th and 18th centuries the heirs supported or earned money from the transport and sale of people for profit.

The Prince of Wales with Barbados Prime Minister Mia Motley (Jane Barlow/PA) , PA Wire

As slavery abolitionists campaigned against the trade, they were opposed to the Duke of Clarence, the son of George III, later to become William IV.

The royal and the rest of the pro-slavery lobby would eventually lose the battle when William Wilberforce and other abolitionists succeeded in passing a bill banning the slave trade in 1807.

Charles’ speech was a positive message, as if written to a close acquaintance, with no remorse over the decision taken by the leaders of Barbados.

He listed ways to “stay deeply committed to this very special country”, highlighting his Prince’s Trust International’s ongoing efforts to support the youth of Barbados and his work with his government on issues such as climate change .

The prince said: “I will always consider myself a friend of Barbados.

Wendy Morton, Minister for Europe and America, has joined Charles in Barbados (Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament) , PA Media

“Tonight you write the next chapter in your country’s story, adding to the treasures of past achievement, collective enterprise and individual courage that have already filled its pages.

“You have a story in which every Barbadian, young and old, can take the greatest pride – what has come before them and is convinced of what lies ahead.”

Britain’s commitment to maintaining a strong relationship with the Caribbean nation also appears to be a priority, with a business delegation of 25 British companies, for the first time in three years, meeting with Darren Henry, the prime minister’s trade envoy to the Caribbean, this month. Came in the beginning.

Europe and America Minister Wendy Morton arrived with the prince on Sunday and is making several visits to the island.

Graham Smith, chief executive officer of Republic, the organization campaigning for the elected head of state, said Barbados’s decision may affect others: “Many congratulations to Barbados for this historic moment in the story of their nation.

“Barbados is not only doing itself a favor, but is showing the way for the other 15 Commonwealth territories.”

He added: “The transition in Barbados has also triggered calls for the reparation of slavery and an apology from the royal family for their family’s share in the slave trade.

“Those calls are not going away and there is no way for the Royals to walk out of that debate without doing significant damage to their reputation.”


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