Dr. Gonsalves: It’s time to demand a full apology
February 16, 2007

Dr. Gonsalves: It’s time to demand a full apology

An apology and appropriate recompense are in order for the descendants of the Garifuna and the Callinago people.

This is according to Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves who made this statement as he delivered the feature address at the opening ceremony of the 18th Inter-Sessional meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM.{{more}}

The meeting was held on Monday, February 12th to Wednesday 14th at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown. In his capacity as CARICOM Chairman Dr Gonsalves said that when the Treaty of Paris which ceded St Vincent and the Grenadines to Britain was signed, a merciless genocidal war was launched against “people going about their normal day to day lives.”

Dr Gonsalves also told those present that this year, which marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic Slave trade, must be the time to demand a full apology and reparations from the Europeans for African slavery and the “ignoble subjugation of indentured labourers from India, China, and Madeira.”

“A genuine partnership between our region and Europe demands among other things, this wholesome righting of historic wrongs,” he said.

Dr Gonsalves said that the issue of the anniversary of the abolition of slavery rides in tandem with the Cricket World Cup; in that while slavery was the largest involuntary movement of people to the region, the World Cup promises to be the largest voluntary movement of people to the region.

“We are on display; we must do our best and be the best in our historic hosting of this world championship sporting event,” Dr Gonsalves said.

He also told his fellow leaders that as 2008 approaches, CARICOM would have a lot of work to do. Describing 2008 as “a date with destiny.” Dr Gonsalves said that in addition to the coming on stream of the Single Economy there will also be a redefining of a many-sided relationship in central trading with the United States of America.

He also noted that an Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and CARIFORUM (CARICOM and the Dominican Republic) will be concluded and there would be more developmental relations between CARICOM and the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Venezuela.