Saint Lucia National Green Party (NGP) leader Andre ‘Pancho’ de Caires, citing the African slave trade and the need for reparations, has described the visit here by the Earl and Countess of Wessex as “salt in the wound’.
“It is a salt in the wound when descendants of slave owners visit us, and we have to bow down to them and big them up. It’s a little abrasive to us,” the NGP leader told St Lucia Times.
The Royal couple arrived here Friday on a Caribbean tour to celebrate the queen’s Platinum Jubilee, marking her 70 years on the throne.
The tour was to include Grenada.
But they postponed the Grenada leg amid controversy surrounding the crown’s continuing role in Britain’s former colonies in the region.
The NGP leader believes there should have been a negotiated postponement or scrapping of the visit to Saint Lucia, declaring that the Royals didn’t need to come here.
“Why have a visit in the first place, knowing the atmosphere around the world now in terms of reparations?” de Caires stated.
Nevertheless, de Caires, whose party favours ditching the Queen as Saint Lucia’s Head of State, acknowledged local and regional differences of opinion on the issue.
According to him, some people still herald the British Monarchy, look up to them, and feel that things were more efficient when the British had a direct hand in affairs.
The NGP leader expressed that this appears to be the feeling, especially among older people.
“It depends on what side you’re on,” de Caires told St Lucia Times.
He said the absence of protests here for the Royal visit came as no surprise.
“Saint Lucians don’t surprise me. We have been protesting seven years in a row for the legalisation of cannabis and only 100 or 150 people turn up despite the fact that there are 40 000 people who use ganja in the country. So Saint Lucians are not really protest people,” de Caires, former Chairman of the Cannabis Movement asserted.
“We talk a lot, but very little action,” he told St Lucia Times.