The Iyanola Council for the Advancement of Rastafari (ICAR) has welcomed the visit here of Prince Henry, but feels that he should address the issue of reparations for slavery.
“ICAR, as a diplomatic organization, we welcome the visit of the Prince to our shores, however we have our issues as far as the British Monarchy is concerned and key among them is reparations,” ICAR’s Public Relations Officer, Aaron ‘Ras Iron’ Alexander told the Times.
Alexander said ICAR was hoping that the authorities here, including Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, do not “choke up” when the issue of reparations is raised.
He described reparations as a valid issue which the visiting Prince should address and sate clearly his position.
Alexander said reparations is a matter being pursued by Caricom with a National Reparations Committee in place locally.
“I am hoping that somebody within that sphere of things, either from the level of the Prime Minister or the National Reparations Committee in Saint Lucia, can take the time to pose the question to the Prince concerning his plans and his views on the matter of reparations,” the ICAR official stated.
Alexander said his organization was also keen to know the UK’s position on the decriminalization of marijuana.
He described the issue as a “hot topic” in Saint Lucia and the rest of the Caribbean.
Alexander referred to the stand the United States is taking on the marijuana issue, asserting that the USA is going full steam ahead.
“We are hoping that these kinds of questions could be asked of the Prince – if or should Saint Lucia go that route would there be any repercussions from Britain; how he views these kinds of issues,” he told the Times.
Alexander said the Rastafarian community and specifically ICAR would like Prince Henry to be questioned on such matters.
He said ICAR would like to know what the Prince is bringing to Saint Lucia which has to spend money to host him.
“What is in it for us?” Alexander asked.
“I heard about a cricket game – the Prime Minister’s eleven against the Prince’s eleven; all of that is well and good, but at the end of the day what is the visit really going to do for us that we have not been able to do for ourselves?”
Alexander questioned whether the visit of the Prince would raise Saint Lucia’s profile in the world.
“We have Daren Sammy is doing that for us, Levern Spencer is doing that for us – so we have our own national heroes, our own national treasures in Saint Lucia that are already raising our visibility in the world so what really is his visit about?” He told the Times.
He questioned whether the Prince’s visit was an attempt to stamp more British authority on the Caribbean when the region has already undergone a divorce from the UK through independence and the British have not given the Caribbean a dime in reparations for years of abuse and brutality during the slave trade.