February 28, 2012
A Vincentian welcome for the royals

Tue, Feb 28. 2012

From all indications, the visit of the Prince and Princess Edward, Earl and Countess of Wessex, to St Vincent and the Grenadines as part of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, went off without a hitch.

Early morning showers on Saturday threatened to put a damper on the planned activities, but thankfully, the downpour served only to put a last minute shine on the various venues on the mainland and on Bequia.{{more}}

Other than the invited guests, members of uniformed groups and children representing various educational institutions, people on the mainland seemed only to show passing curiosity in our royal visitors, as only small to medium sized groups assembled in Kingstown or at the Botanic Gardens, where a pink poui tree was planted by Prince Edward, the queen’s youngest child.

There seemed to have been much more enthusiasm on Bequia, where a sizeable crowd gathered at Port Elizabeth, which was named in the Queen’s honour, in 1937, before her ascension to the throne.

The seeming indifference by some Vincentians could be as a result of what is seen as an anachronism in an independent nation having a foreign monarch as its head of state.

Be that as it may, as an independent people, we have consciously chosen to retain Queen Elizabeth II of Britain as our queen, and from remarks her son made on arrival at the cruise ship berth, she is happy about our decision.

More than likely, with the passage of time, St Vincent and the Grenadines will join other former British colonies who have chosen to go the route of republicanism, with a constitution which will see a national being installed as head of state.

For the time being, we join in the celebration of Her Majesty’s historic milestone. She is only the second British monarch to attain such a milestone, the first being Queen Victoria in 1897. During all that time, she has been a dignified monarch, who has performed her duties with stoicism and grace.

While we reflect on the British monarchy and our place in its history, we should note with pride, our resilience as a people over the centuries, and that we have been able to survive for 32 years as an independent nation, making significant strides in a climate which is increasingly hostile to micro-states such as ours.

So, it is in this context, and with true Vincentian hospitality, that those who turned out, welcomed our guests over the weekend.

The organizing committee must be commended for the attention they paid to detail and for ensuring that everything flowed smoothly. We trust that the Prince and Princess Edward found their visit to be memorable and ask that they convey to the Queen our heartiest congratulations on achieving her Diamond Jubilee.