The Prime Minister of Caribbean nation St Vincent and the Grenadines suggested British politicians would not ‘permit’ the King to apologise for the wrongs of slavery
DAILY MIRROR Political Correspondent
The Caribbean nation St Vincent and the Grenadines has encouraged King Charles to ‘nudge’ Rishi Sunak to pay reparations for slavery.
PM Ralph Gonsalves said he has “much appreciation” of King Charles as he is “in favour of a constructive conversation, a mature conversation” about reparations.
But he suggested British politicians would not “permit” the King to apologise for the wrongs of slavery.
Asked if Mr Sunak should lead the way in apologising, he responded: “Of course! The Dutch Prime Minister can do it, but a man of Indian descent can’t do it. I would find that strange.”
Mr Gonsalves said he believes Mr Sunak would have a “profound understanding” about the issue of reparations and the impact of colonialism and slavery because of his Indian heritage.
He added: “I see tremendous promise, I see the King, the new King as someone who can nudge the efficient side of government.”
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In an interview with Channel 4, Mr Gonsalves continued: “We do not swear anymore on oath to His Majesty, we swear allegiance to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I would like to see very much a severing of this link with the British monarch.
“I don’t accept – I cannot accept – that someone who is born in the United Kingdom, grew up in the United Kingdom, lives in the United Kingdom, can be the King of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
St Vincent and the Grenadines was among 12 Commonwealth countries that called on King Charles just days before the Coronation to make a formal apology for British colonisation and being a process of reparations.
The letter, titled “apology, reparation, and repatriation of artefacts and remains”, was signed by representatives of Antigua and Barbuda, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Yesterday the Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis told the BBC his country is “not totally free” as long as King Charles remains head of state.
Ralph Gonsalves said he ‘cannot accept’ that someone who was born, grew up and lives in the UK can be the King of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Dr Terrance Drew said he would start a public consultation on whether the Caribbean Commonwealth nation should become a republic during his leadership.
There is a total of 56 former British colonies in the political association known as the Commonwealth, and the British crown now officially rules 14 “Commonwealth realms” in addition to the UK.
In 2021, following a parliamentary vote, Barbados removed the British monarch as its head of state and replaced Queen Elizabeth II with an elected president.
More nations are expected to follow suit, especially following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
A recent poll revealed almost half of countries where Charles is King would support becoming a republic if a referendum were held tomorrow.
Last month, the King expressed his support for research into the historical links between the British monarchy and the transatlantic slave trade, but did not issue an apology
Buckingham Palace told the BBC the King takes slavery “profoundly seriously” after Dr Drew’s comments.
Rishi Sunak was confronted over growing calls for the UK to make reparations to the victims of the slave trade last month.
Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy called on the PM to acknowledge the wealth Britain accumulated as a result of colonialism and slavery and offer a “full and meaningful apology”.
But this call was rejected outright by Mr Sunak.
He said: “What I think the focus should be on is of course understanding our history and all its part and not running away from it. But right now making sure that we’re a country that is inclusive and tolerant of people from all backgrounds.”
Mr Sunak added: “Trying to unpick our history isn’t the right way forward and isn’t we will focus our energy on.”