The Earl and Countess from Wessex were urged to use their “diplomatic power” to obtain “reparatory justice for Antigua & Barbuda.
After being warned last week, they arrived on the island to avoid any “phony worship” of slavery during visit.
On the previous stop of their Caribbean tour there was a small demonstration, with banners in St Vincent & the Grenadines that read “compensation now” or “Britain your outstanding debt”.
Gaston Browne was Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister. He told Edward and Sophie that there were no protests and that no one was “holding placards.”
He stated that he desired an “open and very impartial discussion” and that his country hoped to become a republic.
He acknowledged, however, that such an action was not “on the cards” at the moment.
Browne stated that he understood the royals didn’t want to be involved in “contentious matters”, but asked them instead to “understand these topics…use your diplomatic influence to achieve the reparatory justice we seek”.
The prime minister stated, “The truth is that we have been left and bereft if modern institutions such as universities or medical facilities.”
Antigua and Barbuda’s Reparations Support Committee wrote an open letter critiquing the Royal Family for its past comments about slavery.
“It is now a common occurrence for members of Royal Family and representatives from the government of Britain come to this area and lament slavery was an ‘appalling atrocity’, that it was “abhorrent” and that ‘it should not have happened,” the letter stated.
It said, “We hear the fake sanctimony from those who came before us that these crimes are an’stain upon your history’.”
“They are, for us, the source of genocide, of ongoing deep international injury and injustice, racism, and of continuing genocide. We ask that you respect us and refrain from repeating this mantra.
“We are not simpletons.”
The Wessexes cancelled Grenada’s leg of their tour just minutes before they flew to the region.
Buckingham Palace stated that the decision was made “in consultation with Grenada’s government and on the advice from the governor general”. There were no further reasons.
This follows the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge’s recent visit to the region. Prince William expressed “profound sorrow” about the slave trade. He also said that the “appalling atrocity… forever stain our history”.
Antigua reparations commissioner accused the Cambridges of “archaic colonial behavior”. After images showed them standing behind a jeep, reaching out to children through wire fences, they were accused of the following:
Edward and Sophie are visiting the Queen for seven days as part of the celebrations.
On Monday, they will visit Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in West Indies to meet ex-cricketers. They will then present jubilee medals and certificates to three individuals to acknowledge their national security service.
They will also be able to meet creatives, craftspeople, and community members. Sophie will talk to women about their efforts towards female empowerment.
Also, a trip is planned to visit the National Sailing Academy with children.