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Britain’s Prince Harry arrives in Guyana; group calls for apology for colonialism

A loosely knit group of Guyanese protest as Prince Harry laid a wreath at the British War Memorial in Eve Leary.

A loosely knit group of Guyanese protest as Prince Harry laid a wreath at the British War Memorial in Eve Leary.

Britain’s Prince Harry arrived in Guyana Friday afternoon to a red carpet welcome and immediately embarked on several official activities, only slightly smudged by a small group of protesters who called for an apology for British colonialism and slavery.

Greeted by Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge and Britain’s High Commissioner, Greg Quinn; the fifth in line to the British throne took the General Salute from a detachment of ceremoniously-dressed members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF).

He laid wreaths at the Independence Arch, Brickdam and the British War Memorial at Eve Leary as well as met with President David Granger at the Ministry of the Presidency and toured the  GDF’s Headquarters at Camp Ayanganna.

It was while he was at the War Memorial that a small group of Guyanese registered a public call for an apology for the impact of European colonization. “We are here today and we are asking for an apology because he is a representative of the Queen and we are here today to ask for that apology. We might not get but we need people to know that we have not forgotten the effects that colonization would have had on us both mentally and economically as a country,”  said Akola Thompson from the picket line.

Thompson was among four youths who came together to stage the peaceful picket at the corner of Young and Parade Streets, Kingston.

Prince Harry inspecting the Guard of Honour near the Independence Arch, Brickdam where he laid a wreath. Guyana attained independence from Britain on May 26, 1966.

Prince Harry inspecting the Guard of Honour near the Independence Arch, Brickdam where he laid a wreath. Guyana attained independence from Britain on May 26, 1966.

The placards stated “British empire was built on the backs of our ancestors #notmyprince and “You cannot come into my country and not address your family in its economic and social stagnation #notmyprince and “Britain encouraged racial division in Guyana #notmyprince “ .

Guyana is among the 13 other independent Caricom member states that have agreed to press Britain and other European countries for reparative justice. Suriname’s former mother country was The Netherlands and Haiti’s was France.

While here, Prince Harry will Saturday visit Surama Village where he will hear more about traditional village life, and take a short trip to the village’s Eco Lodge to see how the community is embracing eco-tourism.

Prince Harry will meet with rangers to learn about the work carried out at the Iwokrama Reserve, and how steps are being taken to protect this important forest. Before arriving at the reserve, Prince Harry will briefly call into Fairview Village.

Also on Saturday, he will visit Kaieteur Falls, the incredible single largest free-fall waterfall in the world, with a drop of 741 feet, making it nearly five times as high as Niagara Falls in Canada.  Prince Harry will embark on a short trekthrough the jungle to reach the falls with local guides who will explain the local flora and fauna of the area.

On Sunday, he will visit Joshua House Children’s Centre where he will see how Joshua House supports vulnerable young children in Guyana, between the ages of 5 and 12. Prince Harry will tour the facility, and meet both the children and staff who live and work there.

  • Emile_Mervin

    The picture has a close up of four people; a group of protesters should be larger to carry a significant impact, especially if those who showed up as spectators or well wishers were greater than four.

    Anyway, while I wish reparation supporters well, I think Britain has done a lot to help former colonies with financial and material aid over the years since granting nations Independence.

    Britain even opened its doors to citizens of former colonies, giving them opportunities for a better life than they may have had if they remained in the land of their birth.

    That said, how exactly will any reparations be divided up among Blacks if Britain were to give out money to former colonies? Should the money go directly to the government to spend as it sees fit, or should each Black family be identified for a specifuc sum?

    And what happens to descendants of Blacks called ‘douglas’ or mixed race

    • Lancelot Brassington

      Also of note, is the fact that a large percentage of blacks have white blood. Anyone who knows about slavery will know that this is true.In other words those who oppressed our ancestors are themselves our ancestors. Blacks in the diaspora are not really totally black. You would have to go to Africa to find the ‘real deal’. How do you factor this into the quest for reparations?

      Another issue that has to be considered is the rampant plunder of aid from the western countries and money from the national treasury that became part of the way of life when African colonies were given independence. Are the westerners going to hand over money on a silver platter? No.They will say that they already paid reparations and they were stolen so why would they pay more?

      Also, it is now accepted as historical fact that blacks assisted the white man to capture members of rival tribes and clans to be shipped overseas into slavery. Many blacks hate to hear this and are still in denial. Many are not aware of it. Slavery would not have gotten off the ground and lasted so long if the white man had not received black help.How is this going to be dealt with in the pursuit of reparations?

      For my part, blacks should concentrate on absorbing their education and seek to achieve excellence in as many areas as possible. The capabilities of our ancestors who built the coastal drainage and irrigation network is a worthy example. We should seek to instill ambition in our children and other family members and move away from the culture of the single parent household. I know that many will say this is old fashioned thinking and that it is not in sync with modern reality. Well, its all about the will to be better.

      Hats off to blacks who have achieved in various worthwhile endeavours (academia, sports, art ,music,culture etc) and continue to strive to do so.

      Let us forget reparations (we have nothing to get), self pity and the victim’s mindset and get the show on the road. As of now business and commerce still remain largely unexplored frontiers.

      • Col123

        LB..that line about “not really totally black “..while true…. is really… really loaded…wish I had space and time to reflect upon it…and folks making those statements randomly make us relive the brutal and sexual violence on humanity!

        • Lancelot Brassington

          I meant not TOTALLY black in terms of our bloodline but nevertheless proud of the dominant African component with which we identify. It would be grossly unrealistic to identify with any other component.

          • Col123

            Interesting comments LB…some are relatively contemporary thoughts on the history….and that is noteworthy in order to move on….but you keep stepping into it…that “partly consensual ” stuff should include coercion…..but this subject is more than these space…good conversation ⛳️

  • Col123

    Francis…you have made your point…we learn from history, so we don’t repeat it…would you forget names like the Veira and Gouveia , sitting on their horse, looking at your sister or mother as she lifted her clothes to go across the punt trench to fertilize sugar cane or weed those “open ” in the cane fields?…harry did not do it…. it was done and it is history!

  • Col123

    Shootist…I will leave you with your elementary thinking…and in your world….”I am not sure besides Africans”….”which other group”..can claim…You have obviously missed a lot in academics…

  • Col123

    Your slave master quote does not impress me…and Americans receive subsistence base upon income and other economic indicators… not on ethnicity… while some institutions provide opportunities for non whites due to the law, there remains a merit requirement to include recommendations from recognized sources. I did not get into Howard U because of being black… It was my military service and grades!